J.J. Nelson making case for roster spot in 2017


Arizona Cardinals receiver J.J Nelson is standing out in a beat up receiving core

The speedy second year receiver out of Alabama-Birmingham is showing the Cardinals that he still wants a job in 2017. Arizona hasn’t had its fair share of success at the receiver position this season. Michael Floyd was recently released after being arrested for DUI, Jaron Brown was looking promising but fell to the IR, and John Brown has been battling a sickle cell. Larry Fitzgerald is still Mr. Consistent and has had a very productive season. Then you add in J.J Nelson, who has actually improved from his rookie season in 2015.

In 2015, the Cardinals took a familiar road, and drafted a smaller, speedy receiver to help with Bruce Arians’ deep game. That player was J.J Nelson. As a rookie, he emerged as a deep threat, even though he didn’t put up big numbers. He finished the season with 299 yards on 11 receptions, and 2 TD. In 2016, the Cardinals have needed another receiver. Nelson has posted 323 yards, 22 receptions and 4 TD’s through 13 games. Nelson has improved in every category, and not just receiver stats. The Cardinals have been using the speedy receiver as an option for reverse plays.

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In his rookie season, Nelson rushed 0 times. The reverse play was never really an option, because coach Arians offense was flowing so well in the passing game. Fast forward to 2016, Nelson has rushed 4 times for 83 yards, most recently a 56 yard rushing touchdown against the Dolphins in Miami. Nelson has scored twice in the past 3 games and has 3 more to go. With the release of Floyd, and injuries to John and Jaron Brown, the Cardinals will be looking for help at the receiver position in the offseason. If J.J Nelson is able to keep this up the rest of the year, and translate it into training camp, he will be showing Arians, Steve Keim, and Michael Bidwell that he is deserving of the number 2 receiver spot heading into 2017.