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Cardinals Position Overview 2023: Outside Linebacker

Possibility of Collins is under spotlight


With minicamp in the rearview mirror 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, outside linebackers.

LOCKS: Zaven Collins, Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders, BJ Ojulari

Why is Collins included here? He was working with this group throughout the offseason whether that was OTAs or minicamp. So, until seen otherwise, Collins remains outside instead of inside. As far as the rest of the group? There is potential. The question is when will that potential – all three were Day 2 draft picks – be unleashed? Last season, both Thomas and Sanders flashed. They each had three sacks, and they each saw their playing time increase towards the latter half of the year. What that means moving forward with a new coaching staff is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, there are high hopes for Ojulari. His 80 pressures the past two seasons at LSU ranked second-most among Power 5 schools.

WORK TO DO: Dennis Gardeck, Victor Dimukeje, Jesse Luketa

It's been three seasons since Gardeck wowed everyone with seven sacks in only 94 defensive snaps. Since then, he's totaled just one sack over the past two seasons (382 defensive snaps). Gardeck, though, adds to his value as a solid special teams performer. That alone may push him into 'lock' territory. For Dimukeje, he may benefit from a fresh set of eyes. The previous coaching staff seemed to sour on him late last season. Twice over the final three games he was inactive, and the one game he did play, he saw few snaps. Luketa, too, found playing time hard to come by in 2022.


Even if Collins is moved permanently to the outside, the guess here is the Cardinals will be looking to add to the group at some point before the season begins. The room could use a veteran, especially someone with a resume, because right now there is no one coming off the edge who scares opposing quarterbacks.

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