Injuries at the wide receiver position could lead to the utilization of the Arizona Cardinals second-round draft pick on Sunday
During the first couple weeks of 2019, the wide receiver position appeared to be a strength of the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray was throwing to a variety of pass-catchers, effectively keeping opposing defenses off balance by spreading the ball around. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s “Air Raid” offense looked brilliant at times, and the Arizona wideouts were a key component of the scoring attack.
But just when the Cards were beginning to develop an offensive rhythm, the injury bug hit the club’s receiving group. Second-year pro Christian Kirk rolled his ankle against the Seattle Seahawks, and will miss at least one matchup. Veteran Damiere Byrd pulled his hamstring last week, and will miss his second straight contest when the Cardinals visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
It’s times like these when the phrase “next man up” applies. Arizona would love nothing more than to have Andy Isabella, this year’s second-round draft choice, fill that role. One quarter of the current campaign is already in the books, but the highly-touted selection has yet to record his first NFL reception.
The Cards front office would be tickled pink if Isabella can start giving the organization some payback on their investment. General manager Steve Keim and company were expecting big things from the 22-year old, who dominated last season at the University of Massachusetts. Isabella tallied 102 receptions,1,698 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the Minutemen in 2018.
Entering this weekend’s game with the Bengals, the Cardinals top three receivers are Larry Fitzgerald, KeeSean Johnson and Trent Sherfield. This past Tuesday, Keim brought Pharoh Cooper back into the mix. The former Los Angeles Ram was cut by Arizona at the end of the preseason, but is obviously well-versed in Kingsbury’s system.
The Cards propensity for using four and five wide receiver sets should present Isabella with a golden opportunity. Up until this point, the speedster has failed to live up to the hype that helped him become the draft’s 62nd-overall pick. Perhaps this will be the week that Isabella shows the Cardinals, and the NFL as well, what he can do.