Arizona Cardinals make a couple changes in depth chart for Week 1 game vs. Patriots

Posted at 2:26 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 17:26:25-04

The Arizona Cardinals made a couple changes in their unofficial depth chart for their first matchup of the regular season, which takes place Sunday night against the visiting New England Patriots.

The Cardinals moved Tony Jefferson into the starting strong safety position on their depth chart released Tuesday. Jefferson, who went undrafted but was signed by the Cardinals in 2013, replaced D.J. Swearinger, who had been listed as the starter throughout training camp. Swearinger is now listed behind Tyrann Mathieu at free safety.

Jefferson played in all 16 games with the Cardinals last year, including seven starts. He recorded three forced fumbles and two interceptions. The Cardinals signed Swearinger, a fourth-year pro, late last season to add depth at the safety position.

Also, 11th-year pro Frostee Rucker replaced Rodney Gunter as a starter at the defensive tackle position. Gunter was listed as a starter on the Cards' previous depth chart, but Rucker is apparently 100 percent after dealing with an ankle injury during training camp.

Rucker started all 13 games he played for the Cardinals last season, recording 28 tackles and three sacks. Gunter, a fourth-round pick by the Cardinals in 2015, appeared in all 16 games during his rookie season. He notched 16 tackles and a sack.

Also of note:

-Rookie Brandon Williams appears to have held on to his starting cornerback job opposite Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson, as he remains ahead of veteran Justin Bethel on the depth chart.

-Running back Andre Ellington is listed as the Cardinals' starting kickoff and punt returner. Wide receiver J.J. Nelson is listed as Ellington's backup at both positions, and Patrick Peterson is the No. 3 punt returner.

-Marcus Cooper, whom the Cards traded for last week, is listed behind Peterson at cornerback.