This time of year, as the Cardinals finish up their offseason work, I annually post my guesses – based on how the offseason unfolded – of what the starting lineup would be for the first regular season game. No reason for that to change in 2020.
Of course, the information for which to make such predictions (offense today, defense tomorrow) is more limited, given the coronavirus and its impact not only on the NFL but the world. That's one way to hedge my bets, although perhaps there is also less chance of surprises on the depth chart by the end of training camp given the short time coaches will be given to evaluate compared to most years.
In any event, my view of the offense:
QB – Kyler Murray. Of course. Big things are expected.
RB – Kenyan Drake. Another lock. Played very well after the trade last year. He fits perfectly with Murray.
WR – DeAndre Hopkins. Would've been cool to see what he looked like in a Cardinals' helmet. That'll have to wait. There is little question who WR1 will be. Curious to see how he's deployed by Kliff Kingsbury.
WR – Larry Fitzgerald. He's back for Year No. 17. Started red-hot last year. How Hopkins' arrival will impact him is an early storyline.
WR – Christian Kirk. He's hoping he's past the injury bug. If he is, he can be a 1,000-yard receiver in this offense, even with the addition of Hopkins.
TE – Maxx Williams. Quietly had a solid season last year, earning a contract extension. Give the weapons in backfield and at receiver, fits well in this offense.
LT – D.J. Humphries. Got his contract extension before the world changed, and both he and the team are confident he will get better.
LG -- Justin Pugh. Moved back to his preferred spot on the left side last year. Good locker room presence and was better in 2019 than 2018.
C – Mason Cole. After a year of apprenticeship, gets his chance to start (again). Will have to show he can do it, but both he and team are confident.
RG – J.R. Sweezy. The brawler may move around but he always ends up starting no matter in which what city he plays.
RT – Marcus Gilbert. So many candidates. I don't think rookie Josh Jones will have enough time to prove himself by the start of the season. I just think that if Gilbert shows he is completely healed from his ACL tear, his experience will get him the nod over Justin Murray.