Arizona Cardinals young wideouts have something to prove
A trio of second-year Arizona Cardinals will be looking to prove to the organization that they’re NFL-caliber wide receivers
Back in April of 2019, the Arizona Cardinals made no secret of the fact that they needed wideouts. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense was predicated around the pass, so possessing individuals who could catch the ball was of the utmost importance. Cards general manager Steve Keim answered the call, using three of the club’s 12 selections on the wide receiver position.
Unfortunately, the youngsters did not produce as expected. Quarterback Kyler Murray leaned on veterans like Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Damiere Byrd and Pharoh Cooper instead. Will Arizona receive some payback on the investments they made during that draft going forward?
The first one of the pass-catchers drafted by the Cardinals in ’19 was Andy Isabella, a 5’9, 188 pounder out of the University of Massachusetts. Many experts were predicting that the second-round choice would be a perfect fit for Kingsbury’s scheme, but things didn’t go as planned. In 15 appearances (one start) last fall, Isabella managed to haul in just nine passes for 189 yards and one touchdown for the Cards.
In the fourth round, Arizona nabbed Hakeem Butler, a 6’5, 227 pounder out of Iowa State University. The 103rd-overall pick’s campaign ended prematurely when he suffered a broken hand during a preseason clash with the Oakland Raiders. Butler’s performance was a bit erratic even before the injury, so the 24-year old will certainly be under the microscope when training camp gets underway next week.
The biggest impact out of the threesome was made by the first of the Cardinals two sixth-round selections. KeeSean Johnson, chosen 174th-overall out of Fresno State University, tallied 21 receptions,187 receiving yards and a score. The 6’1, 205 pounder appeared in 10 games for the Cards, and was credited with four starts.
In a nutshell, Arizona needs more out of the second-year receivers. A sophomore jinx would be out of the question. There’s a very good chance that Isabella, Butler and Johnson are thinking the same thing.