We pick up on our yearly tradition of talking to our sister sites when we play their team. With the Hall of Fame game coming up on Thursday, we talk to Revenge of the Birds, who cover the Arizona Cardinals for SB Nation.
Blogging The Boys: Talk about the Cardinals draft class.
Revenge Of The Birds: The Cardinals 2017 draft class is expected to be as impactful in their rookie year as the 2015 class that landed them Markus Golden and David Johnson.
Haason Reddick is starting at inside linebacker, which likely means he won't play in the game, especially with the lack of depth behind him right now, but the Cardinals plan to utilize him in a number of roles as a rookie.
Budda Baker is being treated the same way Tyrann Mathieu is, as a potential matchup chess piece that offenses can't account for.
Chad Williams may even have a chance to contribute as a third round rookie wide receiver based on the depth chart the Cardinals have.
The last guy who should contribute in 2017 is T.J. Logan. He's a fifth round pick who was a backup running back and third down back at North Carolina, but his ability to return kicks made him a must for the Cardinals. He'll likely be the rookie who sees the most action versus Dallas that could also have an impact during the season (all of this barring injury).
BTB: What are some of the position battles that the team is trying to settle this preseason?
ROTB: Right now you'll see a battle at right guard, where Evan Boehm is the starter, but Cole Toner and John Wetzel may be pushing him, and at the starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. Unfortunately, we won't see any of the cornerbacks but Brandon Williams in this game, as Justin Bethel is nursing a knee injury and Tramon Williams has had two days of practice and won't play. So it'll be an extended look at Brandon Williams, Sojourn Shelton and newly signed Jarell Carter.
BTB: Who are a couple of under-the-radar players to keep an eye on during the game?
ROTB: Krishawn Hogan is an undrafted free agent who looked good in the Cardinals Red and White Scrimmage on Saturday. He's a big target who could be a guy they keep around at least on the practice squad.
Elijhaa Penny is a running back who is trying to convince the Cardinals to keep 5 running backs, as the top 4 seemed locked in (David Johnson, Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams and Logan).
Defensively, all camp long the team has raved about linebacker Scooby Wright, who has been making plays.
Finally, watch Chad Williams. He's a higher round draft pick (3rd) but he stood out in the aforementioned scrimmage as the most reliable receiver with Larry Fitzgerald on the sideline and John Brown out with injury.
BTB: Who were the biggest free agent pickups for the team this offseason?
ROTB: Two guys you won't see in Antoine Bethea and Karlos Dansby. Both vets who will be expected to start for Arizona and help bring the youthful defense along.
You won't see either of them in this game.
BTB: What's the general outlook for the team this season?
ROTB: Cautiously optimistic. The Cardinals know what they have on offense. If they can start 2017 like they ended 2016, then it will allow an overhauled defense time to figure out their side of the ball.
That's the question. Can Carson Palmer and company start fast?
Also, how quickly can the defense gel and become a top half of the league unit again?
Unfortunately, none of those questions are getting answered on Thursday, but it should be fun to see the young guys work hard to earn a roster spot.
Thanks for the knowledge Revenge of the Birds.