Receiver Kerry Taylor is an Arizona boy. He graduated from Hamilton High School and attended Arizona State University. After he went undrafted in 2011, he bounced from team to team.
His NFL journey started with the Green Bay Packers in training camp. He was part of final cuts, but landed on the practice squad for the New England Patriots, for about 10 days. He was released and then he landed almost a month later with the San Francisco 49ers practice squad. He lasted a week there and then, a week later, was signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. He was later waived and then claimed by the Patriots.
He joined the Cardinals in 2012, when he was signed to the practice squad in September after Gerell Robinson was suspended for PED use. He was with Arizona the rest of the season and was promoted to the active roster Week 17 after Rob Housler was placed on injured reserve.
Five teams, two years. Now he is with the team he grew up watching.
"I couldn't ask for anything more," Taylor told me on Friday. "Growing up being a Cardinals fan, being from here, this where I always wanted to play. Now I'm here and I feel like I'm here for a reason."
There is one thing that seems to be different with this shot. In each of his other stops, it looked like it normally does for a lot of undrafted guys -- camp body with at the most an outside shot of making team. This time around it's different with Arizona. He is one of 10 receivers battling for two or three spots on the roster, but all of them are mostly in the same boat -- inexperienced, undrafted players.
"I feel like I'm getting a real opportunity," said Taylor. "I got in here late last year and tried to play catch up learning the offense on my own, finally getting moved up at the end of the year. Now there's a new coaching staff, a new system, so everyone is kind of on an even playing field. I've got an opportunity now, I've just to come out and make plays with it."
Make plays is what he has done. He has been one of the standout young receivers of the offseason. During mini-camp and OTAs, when Bruce Arians split the practice field into two -- one for the first and second team and one for the rest -- Taylor was one of the young guys to spend time on the main field.
His versatility has helped him get there. "That's something that's helping me get reps with the ones," he explained. "I'm a guy that can sub in at any position."
Arians wants his receivers to be able to play any position. He even has Larry Fitzgerald playing in different spots.
He has been able to learn a lot in his many stops and has worked with many players. "Me and Percy Harvin were pretty close in Minnesota," Taylor said. "I worked a lot with him, as well as Wes Welker in New England, so I like to model my game a little bit off of what they do in some aspects, and kind of adjust it for how it would work for me. I'm always watching different guys and learning techniques and seeing what different guys are doing to get better. I feel that's helped m learn a lot to get me here now.
"I've picked up something new every place I've been. I've gotten to work with different receivers everywhere I've been, and learned something new everywhere I've gone, so I try to take a piece of all that here with me."
He says that the offense that Arians runs is a "different type of offense" that requires more adjustments, when compared to what the team ran under Ken Whisenhunt. "Everything is a lot more precise, to where last year was not as strict," he explained. "This is more of a strict offense where you have to be exactly where you need to be on the dot."
He has made an impression so far. The preseason remains for him to make plays. He really does have as good a shot as anyone else on the squad.
Five teams in two years, landing on your hometown team? Not a bad story at all. We'll see if that happens.
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