Wideout may not be a first-round priority of the Cardinals in 2022

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) George Pickens
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) George Pickens /

The Arizona Cardinals could take a pass on a wideout and go in an entirely different direction with their opening-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Over the past month or so, many draft experts have predicted that the Arizona Cardinals will select a wide receiver with their first-round pick. The general belief is that the loss of Christian Kirk has left the squad desperate for a top-notch pass-catcher.

The truth of the matter is, the Cards may not be as weak at the wideout spot as many fans of the team are led to believe. In fact, general manager Steve Keim could elect to wait until the second round to find a replacement for the departed Kirk.

DeAndre Hopkins, a five-time Pro Bowler, missed eight of Arizona’s matchups (including the playoff defeat) last season. The return of the 29-year-old star will mean a world of difference to the offensive attack when the 2022 campaign kicks off next September.

Though it was far from a headline-grabber, veteran A.J. Green‘s return to the Cardinals on a one-year deal should not be overlooked. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder turned in a solid performance for the franchise last fall, and he is certainly worthy of being a number-two receiver in Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense.

Cards quarterback Kyler Murray has a couple of other capable receiving targets as well. Rondale Moore, a second-round choice of the club last year, should have more opportunities to show off his impressive quickness and speed this coming fall. Antoine Wesley, an undrafted free agent who agreed to another one-year contract earlier this month, played well during Hopkins’ absence in 2021.

Arizona Cardinals could add a wide receiver during second round of 2022 NFL Draft

When round 2 of the NFL Draft rolls around on April 29th, Arizona will have the 55th-overall selection to work with. This year’s class of wide-receiver talent runs fairly deep, so Keim could have several quality prospects to choose from at that point of the three-day event.

Jalen Tolbert is a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder who racked up 146 receptions, 2,559 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns over the past two campaigns for the University of South Alabama. The University of Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce tallied 106 catches, 1,851 receiving yards, and 13 scores during the last three years with the Bearcats.

David Bell, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder out of Purdue University, registered 232 receptions, 2,946 receiving yards, and 21 touchdowns over the past three seasons for the Boilermakers. The University of Georgia’s George Pickens hauled in 85 passes for 1,240 yards and 14 scores during his first two campaigns with the Bulldogs.

The Cardinals are in possession of the 23rd-overall selection of the draft and have a handful of holes to fill. An argument for a young wideout can conceivably be made, but the front office could ultimately decide that it’s a bit lower than some other positions on the priority scale.

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