Arizona Cardinals: Rookie expectations for the 2020 season

Arizona Cardinals draft pick, Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals draft pick, Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Rashard Lawrence, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals rookie defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

In the fourth round the Arizona Cardinals went all in on a pair of defensive lineman Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, what impact could they make in 2020?

With a total overhaul of the 2019 defense, the Cardinals did not only attack free agency and round one of the 2020 NFL Draft, they returned to bolster the group in the fourth round twice.

Leki Fotu a defensive/nose tackle for the Utah Utes is a big man that shows great ability to move the line of scrimmage. He has shown flashes rushing the passer but does not showcase many pass-rushing moves or combos. At his size, he shows great speed and first step explosion. He is not just a space-eater like most day three nose tackles.

Starting the season, Corey Peters will be the starter inside at defensive tackle but this is a position I expect to be rotated throughout the course of a game. Peters will be the first option but I see multiple players getting the opportunity to get snaps at nose/defensive tackle.

Rashard Lawrence has more position flexibility than Fotu. During his senior year at LSU, he showed the ability to lineup across the defensive line. LSU lined Lawrence up all across the defensive line and he was able to make an impact no matter where he was.

In the Arizona Cardinals system, he fits best as a defensive end but could also play inside if needed. Lawrence should fill in as depth behind Zach Allen and Jordan Phillips in base sets. He will see some time on the field to give rest to the other defensive ends and could see more time if he can make his large bag of pass-rushing moves more consistent.