As we prepare for the start of training camp, we have looked at the quarterback position and the running backs. Now we move on to look at the wide receivers on the roster, the pertinent storylines and the positional battles.
This group has the potential to be productive. The Cardinals like to throw the ball -- a lot more than many of us like to see as fans. The team has probably the best receiver on the planet and one of the greatest of all time in Larry Fitzgerald. Everyone knows that he is going to get his numbers. What is key is the production of the guys under him on the depth chart.
Arizona currently has 12 receivers on their preseason roster. They typically carry six on their final roster. The guys that are expected to be the top four guys are Fitz, third year player Andre Roberts, fifth-year player Early Doucet and rookie Michael Floyd.
Fitz is the hands-down number one guy. The first key battle at the position is who will start opposite Fitz. The rookie Floyd was the team's first round pick at number 13 in this year's draft. Logic would say that he would be the guy who should step in because of his draft status. But Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt does not usually start rookies unless there is an injury.
Roberts played very well in 2011 despite the numbers and the coaching staff is very high on him. Doucet was the team's second-best receiver in 2011. Doucet plays very well in the slot and many believe that Roberts will be a natural in the slot as well.
So the battle for number two includes Roberts, Doucet and Floyd, but history says it will really only be about Roberts and Doucet.
The other positional battles are of a much smaller magnitude. It is the battle for the final two spots that are likely going to be there. There are eight guys playing for those two spots.
Here are the guys:
Stephen Williams (third year player), DeMarco Sampson (seventh round pick in 2011), Jaymar Johnson (2011 practice squad and brief time on roster), Isaiah Williams (two-time practice squad player) and undrafted rookies LaRon Byrd (who got particular mention in offseason workouts by Larry Fitzgerald), Stanley Arukwe (track star), Gino Crump (from the U of A) and Tre Gray.
The favorites would have to be Sampson and Stephen Williams, but special teams play comes into consideration and Williams thus far has not played there.
So when you get to Flagstaff, keep an eye on these guys and see who makes an impact. Stephen Williams did in 2010 and then disappeared. Sampson showed flashes in 2011. Who will be the one to catch people's eyes this year?
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