2. Christian Kirk
NFL career stats: 7 starts, 43 receptions, 590 yards, 3 touchdowns, 63.2% catch rate
After a solid rookie season, Cardinals fans should be excited about Christian Kirk‘s future outlook. Projected as a first-round pick by a large portion of the draft community, the Cardinals lucked into Kirk at pick No. 47. Though he didn’t have a gaudy stat line, the Texas A&M product was one of the lone bright spots for the 2018 squad.
Kirk’s skillset that made him successful in the SEC translated well to the NFL. He brings speed to the table (4.47 second 40-yard-dash), but his best traits stem from his impeccable route-running, quickness, YAC ability, and creative press-beating techniques. Although he’s slightly undersized at 5-foot-11 and 201-pounds, he can work both inside and out.
It took some time to get Kirk up to NFL speed, but when he got there, he was one of the better young receivers in the league. But, his rookie season ended prematurely when he broke his foot during the week 13 game. Though it was a season-ending injury, Kirk should be available for training camp and it likely won’t hinder his speed and quickness.
Kirk is slated to enter the season as the No. 2 receiver but may find his way as the primary option before season’s end. He’s not going to be a contested catch ace, but he doesn’t have to be. The undersized receiver is skilled in creating separation, is a natural pass-catcher, and will continue to feast after the catch.
It should be noted that Kirk projects as an excellent fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The newly hired offensive mind prioritizes speed, YAC, route-running, and consistency over catch radius and physicality; all things Kirk brings to the table.