Five Names Arizona Cardinals Fans Need to Know in 2017

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

JJ Nelson closed the 2016 season with strong play at wide receiver

One of the positions in transition for the Arizona Cardinals this off-season is at wide receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is returning, much to fans delight, but there are question marks after that. Injuries and off the field mistakes decimated the receiving corps, and it was JJ Nelson who stepped up and made plays down the stretch.

Nelson was drafted in the fifth round of the draft in 2015, mostly due to his blazing speed. His slight frame, however, meant that he was probably just a specialty player in the NFL. His rookie year went exactly that direction. He recorded just 11 catches, but had a 27.2 yards per catch average.

The beginning of 2016 was more of the same. Then, things changed. With Michael Floyd released, and injuries hampering others, Nelson got his shot, and responded. He had a big game against the Carolina Panthers, with eight catches and a touchdown, then scored five times in a four game stretch at the end of the season.

It seems inevitable that the Cardinals will add to the receiving corps in this year’s draft. Nelson is still small, and not likely to be on the field in large doses. He did play well enough to earn a bigger role in 2017, and could make more big plays in the desert.