Arizona Cardinals quietly possess a fantastic group of wide receivers
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals offense will feature a splendid set of wideouts when the 2023 NFL campaign gets underway in September.
The general consensus around the NFL is that the Arizona Cardinals will be pretty darn bad in 2023. New head coach Jonathan Gannon won't admit it, but it's blatantly obvious that the team is in "rebuilding" mode. Is there one, just one area of the roster that the Cards will be able to hang their hats on when the season gets underway in September?
Take one look at Arizona's depth chart and you'll find yourself being extremely impressed with the team's wide receivers group. Ossenfort and company inherited an outstanding contingent of pass-catchers that opposing defenses will simply have to respect. In fact, the overlooked unit could very well qualify as one of the NFL's best at the present time.
The wideout position was supposed to take a hit a couple of weeks back, due to the fact that superstar pass-catcher DeAndre Hopkins was expected to be traded sometime during the draft. A deal for the five-time Pro Bowler never materialized, and you can be sure that the Cardinals quarterbacks are thrilled to have Hopkins to throw to for at least one more campaign.
The 30-year-old Hopkins is one of the few difference-makers on the Cards roster. In just nine starts last fall, the 6 foot 1, 212 pounder hauled in an impressive 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns for the "Air Raid" offense. Many members of the "Red Sea", including yours truly, are downright ecstatic that Ossenfort elected to hold onto the sensational Hopkins.
The receiving corps should make the Arizona Cardinals offense a force to be reckoned with in 2023
Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing should benefit highly by having Hopkins and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown on the field at the same time this coming fall. The 5 foot 9,180 pound Brown was showing flashes of brilliance last year until a foot injury sidelined the Florida native in Week 6. In the 12 games (10 starts) he dressed for, the 25-year-old totaled 67 receptions, 709 receiving yards and three scores for the Arizona offense.
One of last season's most pleasant surprises was Greg Dortch, a former undrafted free agent who came to the Redbirds less than two years ago. Despite his slight size (5 foot 7,175 pounds), the 24-year-old was easily one of the club's most consistent performers in 2022. Dortch appeared in 16 matchups (four starts) for the Cardinals, and was credited with 52 catches, 467 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Rondale Moore is a former second-round draft selection (2021) of the Cards who has never quite lived up to his lofty draft status. Nevertheless, having a speedy 22-year-old as your receiving corps' third or fourth option is a luxury that most franchises would love to have. Management is banking on the notion that Petzing will succeed in utilizing Moore in a way that former head coach Kliff Kingsbury was never able to do.
There are two more notable wide receivers in the mix for Arizona as well. Veteran Zach Pascal will contribute mostly on special teams, but the 28-year-old also has 165 receptions, 2,028 receiving yards and 16 scores on his professional resume. Michael Wilson, a third-round pick out of Stanford University, will add some much-needed size (6 foot 2, 210 pounds) to the Cardinals passing attack.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)