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Arizona Cardinals 53-Man Roster Predictions

The Arizona Cardinals will need to pick 53 players Tuesday afternoon.
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The Arizona Cardinals started their cutdown to 53 players Monday by terminating the contracts of cornerback Josh Jackson and linebacker Joe Walker and placing offensive lineman Koda Martin on waivers. They also waived cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. off the reserve/injured list with an injury settlement.

By Tuesday afternoon, the roster needs to be at 53 players. 

That will begin a wave of waiver claims as a new pool of players hit the market, and the Cardinals will pick a practice squad on Wednesday. 

With the plethora of moves coming, here is AllCardinals predictions for the roster, starting with consensus picks by Howard Balzer, Alex Weiner, Ryan Sanudo and Aaron Decker: 

Quarterbacks:  Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy, Trace McSorley

Running Backs: James Conner, Eno Benjamin

Wide Receivers: Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green, Antoine Wesley, Greg Dortch

Tight Ends: Zach Ertz, Trey McBride, Maxx Williams

Offensive Linemen: D.J. Humphries, *Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, *Will Hernandez, Kelvin Beachum, Cody Ford, Josh Jones, Sean Harlow

Defensive linemen: J.J. Watt, Rashard Lawrence, Zach Allen

Outside linebackers: Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck, Devon Kennard, Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders, Victor Dimukeje

Inside linebackers: Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, Nick Vigil

Cornerbacks: Byron Murphy, Marco Wilson, *Antonio Hamilton

Safeties: Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Deionte Thompson

Specialists: K Matt Prater, P Andy Lee, LS Aaron Brewer

*Indicates player currently injured

Now, here are the 11 other players each of us had on our 53-man list:

Sanudo: RB Darrel Williams, RB *Jonathan Ward, WR Andy Isabella, OL *Marquis Hayes, DL *Leki Fotu, DL Michael Dogbe, DL Jonathan Ledbetter, ILB Zeke Turner, LB Tanner Vallejo,  CB Christian Matthew, S James Wiggins

S Charles Washington starts the season on IR

Weiner: RB Darrel Williams, RB *Jonathan Ward, RB Keaontay Ingram, WR Andy Isabella, OL Lecitus Smith, DL Jonathan Ledbetter, DL *Leki Fotu, LB Zeke Turner, LB Tanner Vallejo, CB Christian Matthew, *S Charles Washington

Balzer: RB Darrel Williams, RB *Jonathan Ward, RB Keaontay Ingram, WR Andy Isabella, G Marquis Hayes, DT *Leki Fotu, DE Michael Dogbe, LB Zeke Turner, LB Tanner Vallejo, CB Christian Matthew, S James Wiggins

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Decker: RB Darrel Williams, RB *Jonathan Ward, RB Keaontay Ingram, WR Andy Isabella, DL Jonathan Ledbetter, DT *Leki Fotu, LB Zeke Turner, LB Tanner Vallejo, CB Christian Matthew, CB Josh Jackson, S Charles Washington

Explaining our reasoning

Sanudo: It will be tough trying to perfect a prediction for the Cardinals' 53-man roster due to the uncertainty surrounding injuries. In the end, I'll be going off instinct and what the latest reports lead me to believe.

The Cardinals will keep four running backs just like last season. Williams and Ward are the team's No. 3 and 4 running backs and the rookie Ingram doesn't make the cut due to his lack of special-teams presence. Andy Isabella's strong preseason keeps him on the roster, but watch closely at his trade market.

Switching to the defense, there's a lot more haywire. 

The Cardinals will hope that undrafted rookie Manny Jones —who's had an impressive preseason — passes through waivers and lands on the practice squad. Ledbetter makes the 53-man roster as he's gotten consistent pressure up front throughout the preseason.

As for the inside linebacker position, it can get interesting. Despite a standout preseason, Chandler Wooten fails to make the roster over Turner, who brings NFL experience and special-teams experience. Joe Walker and Ben Niemann all get cut as well. 

The Cardinals keep four cornerbacks, but you can expect the team to add a cornerback before the season begins — especially with Hamilton's injury status being up in the air. Tae Daley misses the cut over James Wiggins. There's a chance Daley clears waivers and makes the practice squad.

Weiner: Injury designations could impact cuts, but for the sake of this exercise I did not predict who could land on reserve. 

Keeping five running backs is a difficult choice due to needs at other spots, but Ward's special-teams value and Ingram's ability to help coverage teams made the duo versatile enough to keep all five on board. 

Isabella played his way into lock status unless they find a trade for him soon. The Cardinals will have a decision to make with their receivers room when DeAndre Hopkins comes back for Week 7. 

On the offensive line, Ford's addition squeezed Justin Murray out. 

The Smith vs. Hayes decision was 50/50, but Smith's ability to also play center pushes him in. 

Turner, Vallejo and Washington are all experienced special-teams assets, although, James Wiggins in an alternative for Washington should the latter start the year on reserve/reserve.

Balzer: As the others have noted, injuries complicate matters. Players could leave in the cut to 53 and then return when players potentially are placed on reserve/injured with the possibility of returning later in the season. While I'm not predicting it, I wouldn't be shocked if Jesse Luketa makes the roster and Devon Kennard is a surprise cut.

The Cardinals could keep only eight offensive linemen and then add at least two to the practice squad depending on the status of Pugh. Justin Murray appears ticketed to reserve/injured, perhaps in the cut to 53.

At running back, placing Ingram on waivers would likely lead to him being claimed, a chance the Cardinals might not want to take. Williams won't have to go through waivers if cut, so he could end up back on the roster or on the practice squad.

Jackson was released Monday, but he doesn't have to go through waivers.

Decker: The Cardinals roster is an interesting one to sort out because it can go in so many different directions. Wide receivers, running backs and cornerbacks all have many different angles. 

To start the preseason, I don't think anybody expected receiver Andy Isabella to be a Cardinal by week 1, but I feel he has earned a roster role due to a productive preseason. 

In all three games, Isabella showcased what his skill set is capable of, ranging from incredible catches to speeding down field and causing defensive pass interference. Whether this talent makes it way onto the field in the regular season is up in the air, but at the very least he has earned a roster spot in my book.