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Myjai Sanders Cardinals
NFL

Cardinals 2023 Breakout Player: Myjai Sanders

  • Jack McKessy
  • May 24, 2023
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The Arizona Cardinals are not going to be in any position to contend for a playoff spot in 2023. This coming season is all about figuring out which parts of their young core are worth building around. One such player could be second-year edge rusher Myjai Sanders, who is in a good position to break out in 2023.

Sanders had a solid rookie year in 2022 after the Cardinals drafted him out of Cincinnati with the 100th overall pick. The same explosiveness and length that brought him success with the Bearcats translated well to his first year at the professional level. In a rotational role for Arizona, Sanders finished his first season with three sacks in 13 games (four starts). He also recorded three pass deflections, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. It was an impressive showing for a rookie that only played 30% of the Cardinals’ total defensive snaps.

There are a few reasons Sanders seems poised for a breakout season. First and foremost, he has the talent and skills to be a successful pass-rusher in the NFL. He’s explosive and can beat opposing blockers off of the ball, he has a good arsenal of pass-rushing moves, and he runs with a hot motor. There were flashes of all of those tools in his limited playing time, and he was rewarded with some starts later on in the season.

Secondly, and perhaps even more significant than his skill set, the Cardinals really need Sanders to break out. Arizona was already in need of a disruptor up front as one of the bottom 10 teams in the NFL in team sacks last season. Unsurprisingly, they were also in the bottom 10 in passing yards allowed per game in 2022, even though their secondary featured some great players like Byron Murphy and Budda Baker. Then sacks leader J.J. Watt retired, and Arizona’s need for pass-rush help got even more pressing.

Sanders is set to enter the 2023 season as a full-time starter in the Cardinals’ defensive front pending a looming training camp battle with 2023 second-round pick BJ Ojulari. If he can put to work the same skills he showed off in 2022 in an enhanced role in 2023, Sanders could break out with even more sacks and TFL production. New, defensive-minded head coach Jonathan Gannon will be able to utilize Sanders in a way that maximizes his talent as well.

The Cardinals need a young player in their defensive front to break out in 2023, and Myjai Sanders has the tools and will get the opportunity to do so in the coming season.

Written By

Jack McKessy