Entering 2014 training camp, the Arizona Cardinals have upgraded the talent at wide receiver position. The group could put up great numbers. Let us continue with our positional breakdowns leading up to Cardinals Camp and go over the receivers.
We will go over who is on the roster, the roster locks, the bubble players and the longshots to make the roster. We will look at key depth chart battles and questions entering the season.
The 'who' of the wideouts:
Jaron Brown -- second-year player, signed last season as undrafted rookie out of Clemson that made the team
John Brown -- rookie, drafted in the third round out of Pittsburg State
Dan Buckner -- 2013 practice squad player, undrafted rookie in 2013 out of Arizona
Larry Fitzgerald -- 11th-year player, drafted by Cardinals third overall in 2004
Michael Floyd -- third-year player, drafted by Cardinals 13th overall in 2012
Ted Ginn -- eighth-year player, signed three-year free agent deal in 2014
Brittan Golden -- second-year player, in-season free agent signing in 2013
Kevin Ozier -- rookie, signed after tryout in rookie mini-camp, undrafted in 2014 out of Arizona State
Kelsey Pope -- rookie, undrafted in 2014 out of Samford
Walt Powell -- rookie, drafted by Cardinals in sixth round out of Murray State
The roster locks:
Fitzgerald and Floyd are locks. No one questions that. Ted Ginn and John Brown are also locks. Brown has been the player with the most buzz so far in offseason practices and Ginn has looked good as well, and his three-year free agent contract means they want him here.
The bubble players:
With as few as five and likely six receivers making the roster, there are two spots open. Brittan Golden, Jaron Brown and Walt Powell will be in the mix. Powell is more of a "likely" player to make the roster, but a sixth rounder is definitely not guaranteed a spot on the team.
Undrafted rookies Kevin Ozier and Kelsey Pope, plus Dan Buckner have the toughest road to the roster. Ozier is a great story, having been a walk-on at ASU that made the team and earned a scholarship. He is doing it the hard way now. Special teams play will be key. It is probable that one of these guys will end up on the practice squad.
Depth chart battles:
There should be a good one for WR3 between Ginn and John Brown. Both are speedy. Both will also contribute in the return game. Ginn is expected to end up the number three, but Brown has been impressing people and reports are that the organization see him becoming a special player. How long will it be before he overtakes Ginn, who has never been known for being much of a receiver?
The final spot or two on the roster will be tough. Jaron Brown, Walt Powell and Brittan Golden are all speedy. Brown was impressive in camp last year and contributes on special teams. Powell is expected to be solid on special teams. Can Golden beat one of them out?
Camp and 2014 questions:
How is Larry Fitzgerald's hamstring really? It was lingering enough to keep him out of mini-camp. Will it continue to linger?
Is 2014 when Fitz had the Reggie Wayne-like comeback year? Will it be his final season in Arizona, considering the salary cap hit he represents in 2015? Is he in decline? Are his average numbers the result of his surroundings or because of age?
Will Michael Floyd take another huge leap and be a dominant force week in and week out? He had some absolute gems for games, but he had games where he was not a factor at all. Will he become the next receiver star in the league?
Will the Cardinals be able to beat the injury bug at the "burner receiver" position? They drafted Ryan Swope who promptly retired because of consussion issues. Brittan Golden was signed and then missed several games after getting hurt on a deep pass play. Teddy Williams (now a cornerback) tore his Achilles while being that "burner" guy. Even in training camp, Michael Gill (the talk of camp) couldn't stay healthy.
With the team working in its second year with the Bruce Arians offense, can the unit step up and be a dominant force, producing huge numbers?
What are your predictions for how this position group plays out in camp? Do you have other questions about the group?
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