Cardinals Position Overview: Defensive Backs

S Budda Baker (front) and S D.J. Swearinger will be two key pieces in the secondary.
S Budda Baker (front) and S D.J. Swearinger will be two key pieces in the secondary.

With July here and training camp beginning in just a few weeks, azcardinals.com will take a look at the Cardinals’ individual position groups during this very quiet time in the NFL, and give our opinions about where the groups stand prior to camp. The final position group to analyze is the defensive backs.

CB LOCKS: Patrick Peterson, Robert Alford, Byron Murphy, Tramaine Brock

S LOCKS: D.J. Swearinger, Budda Baker

Peterson is suspended for the first six games of the season and will not count against the 53-man roster until he returns. Alford will be the team’s No. 1 cornerback for that stretch and has huge shoes to fill. Murphy and Brock are also expected to see significant action, although it’s unknown who will be the second outside cornerback and who will be the nickelback.

Swearinger and Baker are locked in as the starting safeties and could be one of the more talented duos in the NFC this year. Elite safety play could help mitigate issues at cornerback during Peterson’s suspension.

CB WORK TO DO: Chris Jones, Brandon Williams, Deatrick Nichols, Nate Brooks

S WORK TO DO: Deionte Thompson, Jalen Thompson, Rudy Ford, Josh Shaw, Jonathan Owens, Tyler Sigler

Jones split time between the Cardinals’ practice squad and the active roster as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018. If he plays well in camp, he could secure a spot on the roster. Williams, the former third-round pick, has never found a role on defense with the Cardinals but his special teams ability keeps him in the mix. Nichols and undrafted free agent Nate Brooks hope to shine in camp.

Deionte Thompson was the team's fifth-round pick, while the Cardinals gave up their 2020 fifth-rounder to take Jalen Thompson in the supplemental draft. The rookie duo would seem to have the inside track on roster spots. Ford and free agent addition Shaw also figure to be in the mix. Owens and Sigler must turn heads to have a shot at the active roster.

CB UPGRADE ODDS: High

S UPGRADE ODDS: Low

The Cardinals released cornerback David Amerson at the end of offseason work, thinning out a group that was already heading into camp with question marks. Another veteran cornerback would be a welcome addition as the Cardinals’ secondary must figure out a way to stay afloat without Peterson. There isn’t much need at safety unless the Cardinals become dissatisfied with the reserve options.

Images of the defensive backs on the team

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