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State of the Arizona Cardinals Roster: Wide Recievers

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Of all the positions to break down on the Arizona Cardinals roster (and we've done quite a few) the wide receivers has to be the easiest position. Basically, they're awesome. There isn't another receiving corps that better from top to bottom and there isn't a better top two or top three.

Larry Fitzergald 

Age and 2008 Stats: 25 years old (8/31/83) - 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns 

Contract Status: Signed through 2012 

2008 Analysis: Analysis? Are you kidding me? All you need to know is that Fitz had the best season of his already spectacular career and to put the cherry on top, he turned up his game during the playoffs. In fact, 'turning up his game' is a big understatement. Ummm....how should I put this.....He put Fitz___q_mediumtogether the best post season of any receiver in the history of the NFL by a mile (yea that sounds about right).  

2009 Outlook: Fitzgerald's future is as bright as any player, not just receiver but player, in the NFL. He's still improving the finer points of his game, including route running and running after the catch, and it's not at all a stretch that he could take his game to a whole new level in 2009. He's got amazing hands, fantastic leaping ability and excellent body control. In order to stop gushing and wrap this up, I'll close with this: Fitzgerald is the best receiver in the NFL and (shhh) he's still getting better.

Anquan Boldin

Age and 2008 Stats: 28 years old (10/3/80) - 89 receptions for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns 

Contract Status: Signed through 2010 (although he doesn't seem to know that) 

2008 Analysis: Boldin's season is pretty easy to break down as well. When he was healthy, he was spectacular. His yards per game average was just under Fitzgerald's average and his had just one less touchdown despite playing in four fewer games. In addition to great production, he showed the heart that has enamored him to Cardinals fans as he came back from a vicious hit and played through major pain. On top of the facial surgery he got dinged up twice late in the season and missed the final two regular season games and the second playoff game.

2009 Outlook: Boldin's future is a complete unknown. He wants a new deal or a trip out of town. The team says they want to get him a new deal but he's not anywhere close to the front of the line. They could make him play under his current contract, he could as a result, refuse to play and sit out or they could trade him. No one knows how it'll turn out and I imagine things will get uglier the longer this plays out. Regardless of how disgruntled he gets though, Q will still be Q when he steps on the field. When he's healthy, he's one of the toughest and best receivers in the league.

Steve Breaston

Age and 2008 Stats: 25 years old (8/20/83) - 77 receptions for 1,006 yards and 3 touchdowns 

Contract Status: Signed through 2009  

2008 Analysis: Heading into camp we didn't expect a ton from Breaston, in fact ROTB foolishly expected Doucet to win the third job, but it didn't take long for Breaston to start turning heads. Breaston of course won the job and never turned back. He posted five games of 75 yards or more in the first nine games and became the Cardinals most consistent deep threat. His breakout season earned him ROTB's inaugural Most Improved Player Award.

2009 Outlook: It's scary to think how much better Breaston could be in 2009. He's the perfect slot receiver and he'll undoubtably be able to improve his game with a full year of starting (or at least playing quite a bit). He's still young and there are several aspects of his game that he can improve, including route running and tracking the ball in the air. As long as the Cardinals don't go to a more traditional offense next season, there isn't any reason why Breaston can't post consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. I also wouldn't be surprised if he's locked up to a long term contract shortly before or during camp.

Jerheme Urban

Age and 2008 Stats: 28 years old (11/26/80) - 34 receptions for 448 yards and 4 touchdowns 

Contract Status: Signed through 2009  

2008 Analysis: Urban had a solid season in 2008 setting new career highs for receptions and yards. He beat out Early Doucet for the fourth receiver (and final active roster spot) thanks to an ability to contribute on special teams. Urban proved to have a flair for the dramatic with two touchdowns of at least 50 yards and his size (6'3 207) can cause mismatches for nickel corners.

2009 Outlook: It'll be interesting to see if Urban can retain the fourth spot on the depth chart over Doucet in 2009. He's obviously the more accomplished receiver and he's able to contribute on special teams (something Doucet hasn't shown the ability to do) but Urban's ceiling might not be as high as Doucet. He'll have to prove to the coaching staff that he's a better player in training camp or he could be pushed to the bottom of the depth chart. (Small prediction (sort of): If Urban appears headed for the inactive list on game days, don't be surprised if Todd Haley comes calling with a late round draft pick as compensation. Urban followed Haley from Dallas so the two of them have some history.)

Early Doucet Doucet4_medium

Age and 2008 Stats: 23 years old (10/28/85) - 14 receptions, 90 yards

Contract Status: Signed through 2010  

2008 Analysis: Doucet got off to a slow during camp because he was slowed by a groin strain and by the time he got healthy, he was well entrenched as the fifth wide receiver. He was inactive on game days because he couldn't help out on special teams and he was only active in games that Boldin missed due to injuries. When he did get playing time, he didn't look terribly good averaging just 6.4 yards per catch with a long of 12 yards on the season.

2009 Outlook: It's not at all uncommon for rookie receivers to contribute very little during their first seasons (Fitz and Q are the exceptions) so it's way to early to write of Early (come on who else is laughing) as a bust. He looks like a possession receiver with good hands but he's just buried on a depth chart with quality receivers limiting his playing time. With a full, and hopefully healthy off season he should be able to push Urban much harder for the #4 job.

Lance Long

Age: 23 years old (5/4/85)

Contract Status: Signed through 2009  

2008 Analysis: Despite an impressive training camp that led to many of us predicting he'd make the 53-man roster, Long ended up on the practice squad all season. From what we heard, he's got good hands and above average quickness but to say he's buried on a depth chart would be an understatement. 

2009 Outlook: It's a long shot, once again, for Long (wow, twice in one story) to make the roster out of camp. He's the sixth wide receiver and his best shot, if you can call it that, would be to beat out Pro Bowler, Sean Morey for the special teams leader. We all liked Long last August but the deck is still stacked against him. 

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Overview and Needs: I'm assuming that we can all agree that the Cardinals recieving corps is the best in the business and that no upgrade or addition is needed. With that being said, if Boldin is someone not on the team in 2009 would you want to add someone else to the mix or are you satisfied with Fitz, Boobs, Urban and Doucet? Anyone give fan favorite Lance Long a shot to make it this year?