The position that is (possibly) the Cardinals biggest need

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) DeAndre Hopkins
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) DeAndre Hopkins /

The Arizona Cardinals just saw former wide receiver Christian Kirk collect a ransom and take his talents to the east coast with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Given his big payday, you can’t blame Christian Kirk for leaving the Arizona Cardinals for the sandy beaches of Duval County. But it leaves the Cardinals in a tight spot. Initially, I thought they’d do well to target Amari Cooper, even before Kirk left. After last weekend’s trade between Cleveland and Dallas, that’s not going to happen.

Then I thought, why not Jarvis Landry? But Landry’s coming off the worst season of his career. Listen, Arizona has needs all over the place, but there is a huge, gaping hole at receiver they’d probably like to fill.

J.J. Watt can hold the fort down at defensive line for at least one more season. The Cardinals also re-signed Dennis Gardeck, who held up well in the pass rush when he helped replace Chandler Jones in 2020. Markus Golden is also there, and the Cardinals are bringing back Devon Kennard. They’re fine at edge for at least one more season.

Cornerback sticks out like a sore thumb, as Byron Murphy is so much better in the slot. So they do need to go after a corner. I’d also like to see them draft a speedy complement to James Conner.

But the Cardinals also need a dynamic receiver because the best receiver in their locker room last season just took off for the east coast. And with DeAndre Hopkins entering his 10th season, he’s not getting any younger. The Cardinals need to address the position now.

Wide receiver has arguably become the Arizona Cardinals biggest need

And with Hopkins restructuring his deal, it shows he’s, at the very least, willing to see the Cardinals bring in more than another name or two for the team’s air attack. Perhaps a sound free agent and a rookie?

So who should the Cardinals target in this season’s draft class if they’re looking to draft a dynamic receiver? Two big names from the Buckeye State stick out: Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

Wilson would fit the Cardinals well if they’re looking for a speedster. In 2020, he logged 16.8 yards per catch before breaking out in 2021 with 70 receptions, 1,058 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Think of Wilson as a Rondale Moore with more height (6-feet, 188 pounds). Unlike Moore, Wilson could line up on the outside and provide an immediate impact.

Like Wilson, Olave is another speedy target who ran a sub-4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He logged 176 career receptions and 36 career touchdowns. In three of his four seasons with the Buckeyes, Olave averaged over 16.0 yards per catch.

While the Cardinals can wait until later in the draft to select a receiver, snagging one of the two receivers from Ohio State is just too lucrative to pass up. Especially after Kirk’s departure.

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