With July here and training camp scheduled to start soon, azcardinals.com will take a look at the Cardinals’ individual position groups during this quiet time in the NFL and give our opinions about where the groups stand prior to camp. Today, outside linebacker.
Following Chandler Jones’ departure this offseason, Golden headlines the position heading into training camp. Golden led the team in sacks (11) last season. Dennis Gardeck showed his ability as a push rusher when he notched seven sacks in 2020 before tearing his ACL, and he feels back to pre-injury levels. Kennard will be a rotation piece that provides experience. Thomas and Sanders were third-round picks who the Cardinals hope can be the future of the pass rush.
Dimukeje made the roster as the Cardinals’ sixth round pick last year and this offseason will look to do the same in training camp next month. Luketa will try and make a name on special teams after becoming the team’s final draft pick this offseason. Lemonier has some experience and in a room with questions could find a way to stay.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and fellow defensive players have acknowledged it won’t be easy to replace Jones. But as a unit, they can still have success in rushing the quarterback. Golden and Gardeck, though, will need to be at their best in 2022. Given needs elsewhere it seems likely they are set for now, but Steve Keim will be on the lookout if someone intriguing becomes available.