The Arizona Cardinals have had a blind spot in recent years when it comes to acquiring wide receivers through the NFL Draft.
During his nine-year stint as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Keim has acquired many great players for the organization.
One glaring weakness for Keim, however, has been his inability to consistently extract talent out of the NFL Draft. In fact, the Cards have had many more misses than hits since the 48-year-old has been the main guy in charge of the club’s personnel decisions.
The one particular area of the draft that Keim has had a pronounced blind spot with as of late has been the wide receiver position. Just think of how poor Arizona‘s situation at wideout would be at the present time if the trade for DeAndre Hopkins had never been orchestrated. Of course, Keim deserves major props for getting that deal done, but being able to acquire productive pass-catchers through the draft would be nice as well.
Arizona Cardinals have had poor draft record with wide receivers as of late
Back in 2018, the Cards were excited to add Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk during the second round of that year’s draft. Unfortunately, the Scottsdale, Arizona native has been a model of inconsistency over the past three campaigns. Kirk has flashed big-play ability at times, but he has also dropped catchable balls during some extremely inopportune times for the Cardinals.
A year later, Arizona added not one, not two, but three wide receivers during the 2019 draft. Ever since then, the franchise has watched helplessly as each member of that trio has failed to pan out at the professional level.
Andy Isabella, a second-round selection out of the University of Massachusetts, is the only player out of that threesome that is still employed by the Cards. In 28 appearances (three starts), the 5-foot-9, 188-pounder has hauled in just 30 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns for the squad. Much more was expected out of the speedy Isabella, and Keim and company could ultimately move on from the Ohio native if his production doesn’t improve dramatically in 2021.
When the fourth round of the 2019 draft rolled around, the Cardinals selected Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler. The 6-foot-5, 227-pounder missed his entire rookie season with a broken hand after a lackluster training camp performance with the club. Arizona admitted they had made a mistake with the former Cyclone when they released Butler in September of last year.
Two rounds after drafting Butler, the Cards took KeeSean Johnson with the first of their two sixth-round picks. The Fresno State product tallied 36 receptions, 360 receiving yards, and one score in 18 contests (five starts) with the “Air Raid” offense. Apparently, it wasn’t enough because the Cardinals elected to move on from Johnson during final cuts this past week.
Not a great track record with drafted wideouts, to say the least. Keim will certainly need to improve in that aspect of his job with the Redbirds going forward.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)