Arizona Cardinals: Six keys to success in 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 01: Carson Palmer
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 01: Carson Palmer /
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GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 16: Wide receiver John Brown
GLENDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 16: Wide receiver John Brown /

5. Someone not named Larry emerges as a threat at wide receiver.

Quick – can you name the Cardinals’ second leading receiver in 2016? Okay, maybe that’s a trick question, since it was running back David Johnson. But after Johnson, who was next? Well if you go by yards, it was J.J. Nelson with 568 yards. If you go by receptions, it was John Brown with 39. Either way, it was not good.

J.J. Nelson showed some promise, but at 5’10” and 160 pounds, he is likely best suited as a fourth receiver who can take the top off the defense. The most likely candidates to emerge as a legitimate top starter, are receivers John Brown and Chad Williams. Players like Aaron Dobson and Jaron Brown are also possibilities, though their odds seem longer.

Brown has demonstrated that he has the talent to be that player, but complications from a sickle cell trait compromised his 2016 performance. Word is that he and the medical staff have figured out how to manage the condition, but only time will tell if that is the case.

Williams is another in a long line of small school prospects selected during the tenure of General Manager Steve Keim. He is a big, fast receiver, with all of the tools necessary to be successful. He is, however, a rookie, and it is more likely that he will show flashes in 2017, but not earn a starting role until 2018.

However it works out, the Cardinals will need someone to emerge as a legitimate starting receiver, to lend a hand (pun intended) to Larry Fitzgerald.