Wide receiver Andre Roberts, now in his third year out of the Citadel, at 5’11” and 195 pounds, is primed for a breakout season. However, Roberts can only have a breakout season if his supporting cast will come through for him and allow him to do so. By now, for those that closely monitor, it is no secret that the Arizona Cardinals have had some major inadequacies (to say the least) at the quarterback position and there offensive line.
Coming in to the NFL, prior to the NFL draft, Roberts posted a 40-yard dash time in the 4.3’s at the NFL combine. With tremendous speed and quickness, solid hands and great route-running ability, Roberts will prove to be a perfect fit for the slot receiver position in new head coach Bruce Arians’ offense.
Roberts, who has also become an upper management favorite for his character and production on and off the football field and for his dedication on the practice field and film room, has also gained respect throughout the locker room for his dedication and professionalism, commanding much respect from his teammates. Management has also indicated on numerous occasions, directly and indirectly, their belief that he has the potential to be great.
So, it’s safe to say chemistry between Roberts and his teammates is fine.
Prior to last season when the Cardinals were pursuing Peyton Manning, management also invited Roberts (along with Fitzgerald) to be there at the team facility during the interview process, to meet with Manning. Showing off their other lesser-known (but prized) wide receiver, in hopes that this would boost or help their chances of landing the future Hall of Famer, shows how high management is on Roberts. As it turned out, the Cardinals did not get the coveted QB, however by inviting Roberts, indirectly indicated to the young receiver, that management is very high on his potential.
Management has directly shown their approval of Roberts by mentioning on numerous occasions, (after reviewing game tape) game in and game out, the wideout has been open, but the quarterbacks have not managed to get him the pigskin. However, regardless of the ineptness at the quarterback position, Roberts has somehow managed to improve his production each of his first three years. During his rookie campaign Roberts posted 24 receptions and two touchdowns. The following year, Roberts increased his production with 51 receptions and also made it in the end zone with two more touchdowns. Last year, he again surpassed his previous season’s production with 64 receptions and five touchdown receptions.
By comparison, Fitzgerald caught 71 passes and hauled in four touchdown catches. Arizona’s quarterbacks combined to throw 11 touchdowns, meaning that Roberts caught an astonishing 45.5 percent of those touchdown passes.
Despite the continued ineptness at the quarterback position, look for Roberts to turn the corner to an elite receiver in the next couple of years. Why, might you ask? Enter the new era of quarterback Carson Palmer and new head coach Bruce Arians. With Palmer at the helm and Arians pushing the right buttons, it is my belief that this combination will boost Roberts to another level.
Palmer and his experience will not consistently miss open targets to Roberts, as has happened (stated previously) time after time in previous years. Having said that, look for the words Carson Palmer to Andre Roberts to become very familiar over the next several years. In my projection, look for Roberts to approach the century mark in receptions and double digits in touchdowns. Palmer averaged 8.39 yards per pass attempt in 2011 and exceeded 4,000 passing yards in 2012, and he will definitely make a big difference.
It is my belief that after the terrific moves made by new general manager Steve Keim and company (upper management), the supporting cast is now in place to spring Andre Roberts to the next level and become elite. With the additions of Arians and Palmer, as well as the new additions up front on the offensive line, look for the name Andre Roberts to become very familiar throughout the NFL.