Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver could start career as the WR1

Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Wilson could wind up as the WR1 to start the 2023 season if Marquise Brown misses the contest.
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Like most NFL teams, the Arizona Cardinals may not be completely healthy to kick off the 2023 season. Tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Marquise Brown are officially questionable for the contest, meaning the likes of Trey McBride and Michael Wilson could be filling the veterans’ shoes. 

Wilson, who beat out Zach Pascal in the preseason to snag one of the three starting gigs at wide receiver, impressed just about everyone in camp and the preseason, showing everyone that the NFL stage is not too big for him. He’s also got sensational size, clocking in at 6’2, 213 lbs, making the rookie wideout a strong candidate to replace the departed DeAndre Hopkins.

Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver could open season as WR1

While Wilson won’t put up Hopkins-like numbers in Year 1, he could enjoy a solid campaign if the injury bug doesn’t strike him. He wasn’t blessed with such luck in college, having missed significant portions of the 2020, 2021, and 2022 seasons, but Wilson nonetheless was good enough for the Cards to scoop him up in the third round of the 2023 draft. 

If Brown can’t play this week, look for either Zach Pascal or Greg Dortch to step into the WR3 spot, while Wilson and third-year receiver Rondale Moore man the WR1. However, another reason the Cardinals should lean toward Wilson instead of Moore is that we already know what the Redbirds have in the former Purdue Boilermaker. 

Moore is a shifty receiver, but he’s so far toiled through pedestrian production when healthy. The 5’7 speedster has just a career yards per reception average of 8.9 on 95 career catches. And while Moore is sure handed, if this season is truly a changing of the guard, why not opt for a rookie with limitless potential that the new regime brought in over the underwhelming Moore?

Sure, Wilson had injury concerns in school, but he’s also shown immense productivity when healthy. And he provides a big target for backup quarterbacks Josh Dobbs and Clayton Tune, and that duo will need all the help they can get. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)