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Cardinals Position Overview 2021: Defensive Line

Offseason signing of J.J. Watt bolstered position

DE J.J. Watt during media day.
DE J.J. Watt during media day.

With July here and training camp scheduled to start soon, 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, defensive line.

LOCKS: J.J. Watt, Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen, Rashard Lawrence, Leki Fotu

Watt headlines the group, while Phillips is aiming for a bounceback campaign after an injury-riddled first season with the Cardinals in 2020. Allen, Lawrence and Fotu have been praised during offseason work and it's a critical season for the trio to make its mark. The Cardinals have talent at outside linebacker, so Vance Joseph could keep the defensive line rotation tight if the three youngsters don't force their way into large-scale playing time.

WORK TO DO: Xavier Williams,Michael Dogbe, David Parry, Ryan Bee, Cam Murray

Williams was signed late in the offseason after a solid three-year stint with the Cardinals to begin his career. He fills a hole – run-stuffing interior defensive linemen – that was manned by veteran Corey Peters the past five seasons. Dogbe has been on the roster bubble the past couple years and will aim to secure a roster spot once again. Parry, Bee and Murray hope to make a strong impression in camp to get in the mix.


The Cardinals have five players earmarked for roles, so there isn't much playing time available. Peters remains a free agent but is likely still recovering from a torn patellar tendon and is 33 years old. Nose tackle does seem to be the most likely place to add another body if deemed necessary.

Images of the Cardinals' defensive linemen heading into training camp.