In a calculated move to fortify their defensive capabilities, the Arizona Cardinals have strategically acquired Laiatu Latu, an electrifying edge rusher hailing from UCLA, in the NFL draft.
By adding Latu to their roster, the Cardinals seek to invigorate their defense and provide Head Coach Jonathan Gannon with a potent weapon to bolster their pass rush.
Recognizing the pivotal role of playmakers on the edge, the Cardinals have selected Latu, underscoring their commitment to constructing a formidable defense capable of competing at the highest echelons of the NFL.
Cardinals’ Defensive Struggles
Consistently, the Arizona Cardinals have faced defensive struggles that have hindered their overall performance on the field. Despite having a strong offense led by quarterback Kyler Murray, the Cardinals have struggled to stop opponents from scoring.
In the 2021 season, the Cardinals ranked 21st in total defense and 25th in points allowed per game. This lackluster defensive performance has been a major concern for the team and has prevented them from reaching their full potential. The Cardinals’ inability to generate consistent pass rush and defend the run effectively has led to their downfall in crucial moments.
To address these issues, the Cardinals have made significant changes this offseason, including the addition of new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and the selection of Laiatu Latu, an explosive edge rusher, in the upcoming draft. These moves highlight the Cardinals’ commitment to improving their defense and achieving success on the field.
Importance of Edge Rushers
Edge rushers play a pivotal role in a team’s defensive success, providing a disruptive force that consistently pressures opposing quarterbacks and disrupts offensive game plans. Their importance cannot be overstated, as they have the ability to change the outcome of a game with their ability to generate sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback pressures.
Here are four reasons why edge rushers are vital to a team’s defense:
Quarterback Sacks: Edge rushers excel at getting to the quarterback and bringing him down for a sack. This not only ends offensive drives but can also lead to turnovers and scoring opportunities for the defense.
Disrupting Passing Game: Edge rushers disrupt the timing and rhythm of the opposing team’s passing game. By pressuring the quarterback, they force him to make quick decisions and throw off-target passes, increasing the chances of interceptions.
Run Defense: Edge rushers are not just pass rushers; they also play a crucial role in stopping the run. Their ability to set the edge and contain running backs prevents big gains and forces the offense into unfavorable situations.
Defensive Game Plan: The presence of a dominant edge rusher affects the entire offensive game plan. Opposing teams must dedicate extra resources to block the edge rusher, opening up opportunities for other defenders to make plays.
Evaluating Laiatu Latu’s Potential Impact
Laiatu Latu’s arrival on the Arizona Cardinals’ defense is poised to make a significant impact. His explosive edge rushing abilities will add a dynamic element to the team’s pass rush, which is in need of more playmakers on the edge. Head coach Jonathan Gannon will appreciate the boost that Latu brings to the team’s pass rush. Latu’s ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks will disrupt the timing of their passing game. His quickness off the line of scrimmage, combined with his strength and agility, will make him a formidable force on the Cardinals’ defensive line.
Latu’s presence will not only create more quarterback pressures and sacks but also force opposing offenses to account for him. This will open up opportunities for other defenders to make plays. Overall, Latu’s addition to the Cardinals’ defense will elevate their pass rush and provide a much-needed boost to their overall defensive performance.
Cardinals’ Draft Strategy
The Cardinals’ draft strategy revolves around bolstering their defense with impactful selections. To achieve this goal, they have identified four key areas of focus:
Pass Rush: The Cardinals recognize the importance of a strong pass rush in disrupting opposing offenses. By selecting an explosive edge rusher like Laiatu Latu, they aim to add a dynamic presence to their defensive front and increase their ability to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Secondary: Improving the secondary is another priority for the Cardinals. With the addition of talented defensive backs, they seek to enhance their coverage skills and create more turnovers in the passing game.
Linebackers: The Cardinals are looking to add depth and playmaking ability to their linebacker corps. By targeting linebackers with versatility and instincts, they aim to solidify their run defense and improve their overall defensive performance.
Defensive Line: Strengthening the defensive line is crucial for the Cardinals’ draft strategy. By selecting interior linemen who can anchor against the run and collapse the pocket, they intend to disrupt opposing offenses and provide support for their edge rushers.
Latu’s Explosive Skillset
With his explosive skillset and relentless pursuit of the quarterback, Latu adds a dynamic presence to the Cardinals’ defense. As an edge rusher from UCLA, Latu possesses the speed, agility, and power to disrupt opposing offenses and create havoc in the backfield. His ability to quickly explode off the line of scrimmage and his relentless motor make him a constant threat to quarterbacks and offensive tackles alike. Latu’s skillset is further enhanced by his versatility, allowing him to line up in multiple positions along the defensive front and create mismatches for opposing offenses. Here is a table showcasing Latu’s impressive skills:
|Speed||Latu’s quickness off the line of scrimmage allows him to beat offensive tackles around the edge.|
|Power||With his strength and explosiveness, Latu can bull rush opposing linemen and collapse the pocket.|
|Agility||Latu’s agility and flexibility enable him to change direction quickly and evade blockers.|
Latu’s explosive skillset will undoubtedly bolster the Cardinals’ defense and provide a much-needed boost to their pass rush.
Addressing the Pass Rush Issue
To address the pass rush issue, the Cardinals’ defense will need to focus on strengthening their edge presence. Here are four key steps they can take to improve their pass rush:
Evaluate current personnel:
The Cardinals should assess the performance and potential of their current edge rushers. Identifying strengths and weaknesses will help them determine where improvements are needed.
The team should explore free agency options to find experienced and talented edge rushers who can immediately contribute to the pass rush. Adding a proven veteran could provide an instant boost to the defense.
The Cardinals should target edge rushers in the upcoming draft. They should thoroughly evaluate college prospects and prioritize players with explosive athleticism and strong pass-rushing skills.
Development and coaching:
The coaching staff should focus on developing the technique and skills of their current and incoming edge rushers. Implementing effective training programs and strategies will help maximize the potential of the players and improve the overall pass rush.
Impact on the Cardinals’ Defense
The addition of Laiatu Latu, an explosive edge rusher, will have a significant impact on the defensive capabilities of the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ defense has been in need of improvement, particularly in the area of pass rush. Latu’s selection addresses this issue directly, as he brings a unique combination of speed, strength, and technique to the edge rushing position.
With Latu’s presence on the field, opposing offenses will have to be more mindful of their pass protection schemes, creating opportunities for disruption and turnovers.
Latu’s ability to generate pressure on the quarterback will not only result in sacks but also force hurried throws, errant passes, and potential interceptions for the Cardinals’ defense.
His addition will undoubtedly bolster the team’s pass rush and contribute to an overall stronger and more formidable defense.
Latu’s Fit in the Cardinals’ Scheme
Latu’s role within the Cardinals’ defensive scheme is crucial for enhancing their pass rush. As an explosive edge rusher, he brings a set of skills and potential that make him an attractive choice for Arizona. Here is a breakdown of how Latu fits into the Cardinals’ scheme:
Speed and Agility: Latu’s quickness off the line of scrimmage and ability to change direction will enable him to effectively chase down opposing quarterbacks.
Disruption in the Backfield: With his burst and explosiveness, Latu has the potential to disrupt plays in the backfield, causing chaos for opposing offenses.
Edge Pressure: The Cardinals’ defense needs more playmakers on the edge, and Latu’s ability to generate consistent pressure will help create turnovers and disrupt the opposing passing game.
Pass Rush Rotation: Latu’s addition provides the Cardinals with depth and flexibility in their pass rush rotation, allowing them to keep their defensive linemen fresh and maximize their effectiveness.
Expectations for Latu’s Rookie Season
Latu is poised to make a significant impact in his rookie season for the Arizona Cardinals’ defense. With his explosive edge rushing abilities, he is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the team’s pass rush. The Cardinals’ defense is in dire need of playmakers on the edge, and Latu’s skills and potential make him an attractive choice for Arizona. As a highly ranked edge rusher from UCLA, he brings a level of athleticism and talent that will immediately catch the attention of opposing offenses. The expectations for Latu are high, and he will be tasked with making a difference in his rookie season. The table below highlights some key expectations for Latu’s rookie year:
|Tackles for loss|
The Cardinals will be counting on Latu to excel in these areas and contribute to the overall improvement of their defense.
Cardinals’ Defense Takes a Step Forward
With the addition of explosive edge rusher Laiatu Latu, the Arizona Cardinals’ defense takes a step forward in their quest for improvement. The Cardinals’ defense has been a key area of concern, and the addition of Latu brings much-needed talent and potential to their pass rush.
Here are four reasons why the Cardinals’ defense is poised to improve with Latu on board:
Enhanced pass rush: Latu’s explosive speed and agility off the edge will put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, forcing hurried throws and potential turnovers.
Increased disruptive plays: Latu’s ability to disrupt passing lanes and get to the quarterback will create more opportunities for sacks, interceptions, and fumbles.
Improved run defense: Latu’s strength and tackling ability will bolster the Cardinals’ run defense, making it harder for opponents to gain yards on the ground.
Defensive flexibility: Latu’s versatility allows the Cardinals’ defense to deploy different formations and schemes, keeping offenses off balance and improving overall defensive effectiveness.
With Latu’s presence, the Cardinals’ defense is primed to take a significant step forward in the upcoming season.
Cory is a staff editor at the Daily Contributor. He also is the Business Development Manager at Grit Daily and Block Telegraph.