Cardinals Rank in Bottom Third of ESPN's Future Power Rankings

It appears the only choice is to win now for the Arizona Cardinals. At least accorfing to ESPN analytics.
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ESPN recently released its NFL future power rankings to project which NFL franchises are in the best shape heading into the next three seasons. ESPN's panel of experts, including Jeremy Fowler, Louis Riddick, Seth Walder and Field Yates, rated various components of each team ranging from front-office personnel to drafting ability and active rosters. 

After averaging the results from the panelists, ESPN said each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score: roster (30%), quarterback (20%), draft (15%), front office (15%) and coaching (20%).

As some may expect, the Kansas City Chiefs arrive as the No. 1 team in the power rankings, an easy task when quarterback Patrick Mahomes is locked into a contract for the foreseeable future and beyond. Of course, Mahomes' presence accounts for only 20% of the team's projection.

For the Arizona Cardinals, however, their spot in the rankings is far down the list: No. 22.

No Fly Zone for Cardinals Future

Out of the five categories graded, the Cardinals' sole representation in the top 10 came with Kyler Murray ranking as the panel's 10th-best quarterback. Arizona's coaching staff ranked 27th of 32 teams in the league. 

"While the Cardinals do have a dynamic young quarterback in Kyler Murray who gives them a real shot at annual growth, the team plays in the most competitive division in the NFL and has several key veterans with a natural win-soon mentality," said Yates. 

"The roster doesn't possess a litany of major flaws, but the pathway to climbing in the NFC West is simply more difficult than for other teams with comparable roster tenets."

Riddick believes the team's biggest worry is the evolution on the offensive side of the ball, both schematically and for play on the field. However, Fowler points out that Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins could form one of the best linebacker duos in the league, providing hope for improvement over the next few years. 

Arizona ranked last out of all NFC West teams, with the San Francisco 49ers (sixth), Los Angeles Rams (seventh) and Seattle Seahawks (10th) all in extremely favorable positions per ESPN's panel of experts. 

Time will tell if the panel is close to being right. For now, the Cardinals have another piece of material to hang on their bulletin board.