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State of the 2024 Arizona Cardinals: New intrigue with Marvin Harrison Jr. joining Kyler Murray

Where does your squad stand ahead of the 约炮app season? Adam Rank sets the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams, zeroing in on the new faces to know, one significant fantasy spin and the stakes at play in the campaign to come.

Members of the Cardinals organization, Cardinals fans around the world and those who realize Portillo's isn't the only Chicago transplant living in the Valley of the Sun ...

The Cardinals struggled last season, winning just four games. They had one of the worst defenses in the league. But now the team is looking to get back to winning with a strength of schedule that is tied for seventh easiest in the NFL. The team looked much better last season when Kyler Murray returned from his 2022 ACL injury, winning three games. Can the Cardinals build some momentum? Let's take a look at the State of the Franchise.

2024 brain trust

Table inside Article
POSITION NAME
Head coach Jonathan Gannon
General manager Monti Ossenfort
Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing
Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis
Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers

Roster reshuffling

Below is a rundown of the Cardinals' most notable roster developments for the 2024 season, including this year's draft class, as well as key acquisitions and departures via free agency and trade.

Table inside Article
Draft class (round-pick) Key additions Key departures
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (1-4) Desmond Ridder, QB Marquise Brown, WR
Darius Robinson, DL, Missouri (1-27) DeeJay Dallas, RB Rondale Moore, WR
Max Melton, CB, Rutgers (2-43) Zay Jones, WR Geoff Swaim, TE
Trey Benson, RB, Florida State (3-66) Chris Moore, WR D.J. Humphries, OT
Isaiah Adams, OL, Illinois (3-71) Jonah Williams, OT Leki Fotu, DL
Tip Reiman, TE, Illinois (3-82) Evan Brown, C Josh Woods, LB
Elijah Jones, CB, Boston College (3-90) Justin Jones, DT Antonio Hamilton, CB
Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S, Texas Tech (4-104) Bilal Nichols, DT
Xavier Thomas, OLB, Clemson (5-138) Khyiris Tonga, DT
Christian Jones, OL, Texas (5-162) Mack Wilson, LB
Tejhaun Palmer, WR, UAB (6-191) Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB
Jaden Davis, CB, Miami (7-226)

New faces to know

Marvin Harrison Jr.
WR · Rookie

MHJ is expected to be the most-targeted receiver for the Cardinals. And it鈥檚 interesting to note that a rookie receiver has had at least 1,400 receiving yards in three of the last four seasons.

Sean Murphy-Bunting
CB · Year 6

The Cardinals ranked second to last in scoring defense and 25th in yards allowed in 2023. They couldn鈥檛 rush the passer and couldn鈥檛 cover anybody, which is sort of a bad combination. That鈥檚 why they signed Murphy-Bunting to a three-year deal. He matched a career high with eight passes defensed last season. He also allowed a career-low two touchdown passes in 2023.

Darius Robinson
DL · Rookie

The Cardinals drafted Robinson in the first round, too. He led Missouri with 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in his final college season. The Cardinals had the third-fewest sacks in the NFL in 2023 (33).

State of the QB

  • I've been curious about what the Cardinals would have done had they been in position to select Caleb Williams in this year's draft. Would they have drafted the quarterback and moved on from Kyler Murray? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Murray. He's good. I like him. His contract might be tough to get away from, but then again, this hypothetical doesn't matter much and can be saved for TikTok think pieces. Murray is still in Arizona and he was the starting quarterback in three of the Cardinals' four wins last season. They scored six more points per game with Murray at quarterback. As luck would have it, the scoring unit measurement for a touchdown is (wait for it) six points. That's significant. Murray also saw improvements in completion percentage (71.7%) and passer rating (108.3) over the final three games of the season. And with Marvin Harrison Jr. along for the ride, Murray is going to be given every chance to succeed for the Cardinals. One place I'd like to see him do better -- the deep ball. He's regressed in that area in recent years. The Cardinals do not have a player on the roster who has caught a touchdown pass of 20-plus air yards from Murray.

Most important non-QB

Marvin Harrison Jr.
WR · Rookie

Harrison is the first receiver who is the son of a Pro Football Hall of Famer to be drafted in the first round in NFL history. Hey, somebody looked that up, so I wanted to share it. His dad, Colts great Marvin Harrison, had 118 targets, 64 receptions, 836 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns during his rookie season in 1996 (fun fact: Jim Harbaugh was the Colts鈥 primary starting quarterback in 1996). Marvin Harrison Jr. led the FBS with 17.2 yards per reception and 28 receiving touchdowns from 2022 to 2023. And as mentioned above, if the Cardinals want to get better with deep strikes, they need Kyler Murray and MHJ to form a strong connection.

My HOTTEST Cardinals fantasy take:

Draft Trey Benson.

Cardinals RB1 James Conner averaged 128.6 scrimmage yards per game with seven touchdowns over the final five contests of last season, but he missed four games earlier in the year. He has never played more than 15 games in a season and he missed four games in each of the last two seasons. That's why I'm getting a bunch of shares of third-round rookie Trey Benson. He's a big back who can catch and I would love to see him get a chance. Take a late-round dart throw on this guy, especially if you end up with Conner in your league. Benson didn't run the ball a ton in college, so he should be primed and ready to go this season.

2024 roadmap

Three key dates:

  • Week 2: vs. Los Angeles Rams. Not only is this a matchup against a division opponent, it's also the start of a three-game homestand that could give Cardinals a boost to start the season. But it won't be easy to establish a winning streak for the first time since 2021, with the Lions visiting the following week.
  • Week 9: vs. Chicago Bears. Former Windy City rivals will meet when the ex-South Siders play host to the Bears. It will be a big matchup between former No. 1 overall picks and Lincoln Riley pupils when Kyler Murray and Caleb Williams take the field.
  • Week 18: vs. San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals won't have a bye until Week 11 and play four games against division opponents after that brief respite.

For 2024 to be a success, the Cardinals MUST:

A) Win the Super Bowl
B) Make a playoff run
C) Earn a playoff berth
D) Finish above .500
E) Show progress

My answer: E) Show progress. I've seen some buzz about the Cardinals being a sleeper team this year. I'm not saying that's out of the question, but the schedule looks like it could be tougher than you might think (teams like the Commanders and Jets might be much better than their 2023 record would suggest). Seeing Kyler Murray and Marvin Harrison Jr. creating positive memories with an improved defense should be a realistic goal for this team.

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