The Arizona Cardinals strayed away from drafting a cornerback in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft and will likely heavily rely on the likes of Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson once again this season.
The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones thinks that despite the pickup of former Minnesota Vikings CB Jeff Gladney, Arizona’s biggest need remains at outside cornerback.
Cornerback was a need for the Cardinals heading into the draft, and they came out of it still lacking depth and experience at the position. The Cardinals used just one pick on a corner, Christan Matthew from Valdosta State, in the seventh round. The free agent addition of Jeff Gladney should allow veteran Byron Murphy to spend more time in the slot, where he’s one of the NFL’s better inside corners, but this still looks like a vulnerable position that opponents, particularly receiver-heavy rivals like the (Los Angeles) Rams, could exploit.
Last season, Murphy recorded three interceptions, six passes defensed and 12 tackles over the first four games of the year. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in a Week 3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished with four interceptions and 64 tackles with 12 passes defended.
Murphy was thrust into the CB1 role when Malcolm Butler suddenly retiring before the start of the season. This also called for the rookie Wilson to move into a starting role from the get-go.
Outside of Murphy, Wilson and Gladney, Arizona has Antonio Hamilton, Breon Borders, Jace Whittaker, Nate Brooks and the rookie Matthew on the roster.
Matthew, the seventh-round corner selection, was named to the All-Gulf South Conference First-Team in 2021. He recorded 37 tackles (26 solo), 0.5 sacks, one interception and 15 passes defensed in 14 games played.