Cardinals pushing for playoffs, could use help in secondary

16. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)

LAST SEASON: The Cardinals raised expectations in coach Kliff Kingsbury’s second season by getting off to a 5-2 start and flashing one of the league’s best offenses. But the last two months of the schedule were full of frustration and disappointment as Arizona lost five of seven to fall just short of the playoffs.

FREE AGENCY: Lost RB Kenyan Drake, LB Haason Reddick, CB Patrick Peterson, WR Trent Sherfield, DL Angelo Blackson and TE Dan Arnold. Released K Brett Maher. Signed DL J.J. Watt, WR A.J. Green, K Matt Prater, CB Malcolm Butler, G Brian Winters, S Shawn Williams and QB Colt McCoy. Re-signed S Chris Banjo, LB Tanner Vallejo, RT Kelvin Beachum, LB Markus Golden, P Andy Lee, OL Max Garcia, TE Darrell Daniels, S Charles Washington, LB Dennis Gardeck, LB Zeke Turner and LB Kylie Fitts. Traded for C Rodney Hudson from Oakland. Lost C Mason Cole in trade with Minnesota.

THEY NEED: CB, DL, TE.

THEY DON’T NEED: QB.

POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II, South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, Alabama DL Christian Barmore, Georgia EDGE Azeez Olujari, Penn State LB Micah Parsons.

OUTLOOK: GM Steve Keim has been aggressive during the offseason, boosting the Cardinals with Pro Bowl-caliber veterans such as Watt, Green, Hudson and Prater. Arizona doesn’t have huge glaring holes but could definitely use help in the secondary, particularly at cornerback. The pressure is on the Cardinals to build a playoff roster with star QB Kyler Murray in the third year of his affordable four-year rookie contract.

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