Arizona Cardinals: Drafted wideouts aren’t getting it done

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has failed in his recent attempts to draft quality wide receivers for the organization

Throughout his tenure as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Keim has been criticized for many of his draft-day choices. Over the past few years, the club’s top talent-evaluator has had a definite “blind spot” in one particular area. A lack of quality players at a certain position that has had a profound effect on Arizona’s ability to consistently put points on the board.

Several pass-catchers that have been added by Keim over the past few drafts have failed to meet expectations. In fact, if not for the fantastic trade that brought DeAndre Hopkins to the desert last March, the Cards would quite possibly be bordering on disaster right now at the wide receiver position.

Back in 2017, Keim used a third-round pick on a wideout who remained with the Cardinals for a measly two seasons. Chad Williams, who played his college ball at Grambling State Uniuversity, caught just 20 passes in 16 career appearances (eight starts) for Big Red. After short stints with the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs, the 26-year old Williams may already be on his way out of the NFL.

A year after selecting Williams, Keim spent a second-round choice (47th-overall) on Texas A&M University’s Christian Kirk. While the 5’11, 200 pounder has produced at times (159 career receptions for 1,920 yards and 12 touchdowns), the Arizona native has experienced long stretches of inconsistency as well. And that may not be the entire problem with the 24-year old Kirk.

Just a day before the team’s all-important season-finale with the Los Angeles Rams, the Cards announced that a positive COVID-19 test would keep Kirk out of the critical week 17 matchup. It was alleged that the youngster was on a “party bus” just hours before the game, and that Kirk was the only one with a mask on at the ill-advised gathering. If that’s true, it would be fair to say that the kid’s priorities are completely out of whack, and his future with the Cardinals could certainly be in doubt.

Keim’s three additions at the wide receiver spot during the 2019 draft have also not panned out. Second-rounder Andy Isabella has hauled in a disappointing 30 passes in his two pro campaigns, and failed to even dress in three crucial late-season contests last month. Sixth-round selection KeeSean Johnson has contributed just 36 receptions, and fourth-rounder Hakeem Butler was released after never playing one regular-season down for the Arizona offense.

Coincidentally, wide receivers coach David Raih was fired this past week, possibly as a scapegoat for the lack of production at the position. If Keim had done his job and supplied him with better prospects, perhaps the respected young assistant would still be a member of the Cardinals coaching staff. Only time will tell who was really at fault, but Keim’s track record certainly doesn’t work in his favor.