The Arizona Cardinals finally spent some time giving attention to the receiver room this offseason in free agency and in the NFL Draft
What once was a weak room, a room former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians once said was awful outside of Larry Fitzgerald, is growing again. They added a couple of intriguing players in free agency and may have hit a home run in the draft.
With the leader of the room still Fitzgerald, clearly the Cardinals are preparing for the days without him, which could come as soon as 2020. Fitz enters his 16th season in the NFL in 2019.
After him, it’s Christian Kirk, who had a decent rookie season despite the offensive troubles. Then it is Chad Williams, Pharoh Cooper, Trent Sherfield, Bryant Mitchell, Kevin White, Damiere Byrd, Malachi Dupre, Jalen Tolliver, then the three draft picks in Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and Keesean Johnson.
I’m not great at math, but that comes out to 13 receivers. That doesn’t even cover A.J. Richardson who got a mini-camp invite from Boise State.
Fitz will be the number one. Kirk is the clear number two. After that? Don’t be surprised to see Isabella and Butler next, with White, Byrd, Cooper, and Johnson all in the mix for spots on the final 53-man roster in September.
The draft may have spelled the end of the line in a Cardinals uniform for Williams. Something drastic would need to happen, such as another injury, for him to be given a decent chance at making the squad.
That is not out of the question though given the recent injury history of the Cardinals and also of free agent signing White. White was a first round draft pick for the Chicago Bears but because of his injury history, it was time for them to move on from him. He’s not a given.
Cooper could be good for special teams. With the 53-man projection made last week, Cooper was slotted in as the seventh receiver because of his special teams contributions. It would be shocking if the Cardinals didn’t go seven deep.
Look for a great receiving competition to develop this summer. While not ready to write off anyone just yet, there is now more clarity as to who the favorites are.