The Arizona Cardinals situation at the wide receiver position is not as dire as many of the team’s fans have been led to believe
After winning just five games last season, it’s quite obvious that the Arizona Cardinals have a fair amount of roster holes to fill. Many observers of the NFL feel that the wide receiver position should be high on the club’s priority list. However, a closer look at the situation seems to indicate that the Cards may be perfectly fine at the wideout spot.
The fact that the great Larry Fitzgerald has decided to return for another campaign has certainly helped to solidify that area of the team. Sure, Arizona’s future Hall of Famer is not the dominant player he was ten years ago. Nevertheless, the 36-year old still managed to lead the squad in catches (75), receiving yards (804) and touchdown receptions (four) last fall.
Third-year pro Christian Kirk, a second-round selection in 2018, has not been as consistent as the Cardinals would like him to be. For example, all three of the 23-year old’s scores in 2019 occurred during a week-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even so, Kirk has flashed game-breaking ability, and the Cards believe that the former Texas A&M Aggie has the potential to be one of the league’s best performers.
Just last year, general manager Steve Keim used three of the franchise’s draft picks on pass-catchers. Unfortunately, Arizona got very little production out of the new additions.
Second-round choice Andy Isabella was projected to have the biggest impact for the Cardinals “Air Raid” offense. But the University of Massachusetts product failed to meet expectations, hauling in just nine passes for 189 yards and one touchdown during his rookie campaign. Isabella’s one trip to the end zone, however, was an electrifying 88-yard catch-and-run against the San Francisco 49ers in week nine.
Fourth-round selection Hakeem Butler missed all of ’19 with a hand injury he suffered during the preseason. Sixth-rounder KeeSean Johnson contributed 21 receptions for 187 yards and a score. The results were somewhat disappointing, but the Cards are obviously expecting much more from the threesome going forward.
Two veterans, who coincidentally will both be looking for new contracts in the coming months, proved to be solid fits for head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s offensive attack. Damiere Byrd caught 32 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown. Pharoh Cooper registered 25 receptions, 243 receiving yards and a score.
The Cardinals, who hold the eighth-overall pick in this April’s draft, will be tempted by top-notch wideouts like Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. But wouldn’t an offensive tackle such as Louisville’s Mekhi Becton or Alabama’s Jedrick Wills fill a more pressing need? On the other side of the ball, prospects like defensive tackle Derrick Brown or linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons would be magnificent options for a unit that was the worst in professional football last season.
While a talented wide receiver would certainly be a welcome addition to the nest, Keim and company have bigger fish to fry. Arizona would be better served by rolling with the pass-catchers they already have, and turning their attention to some other more significant areas of need.