The Arizona Cardinals faltered on offense in 2016 for a variety of reasons. The offensive line was banged up all year (and possibly lacking talent), Carson Palmer was not as sharp as he was in 2015 and, perhaps one of the more unmentioned storylines, the wide receivers did not play up to the level they were expected to.
Larry Fitzgerald was great. He led the entire NFL in receptions at age 33 and, behind David Johnson, was one of the sole catalysts for the offense. But outside of the future Hall of Fame receiver, the production at that position was grim.
Michael Floyd had drops all year and rarely found separation from opposing defensive backs. Then there was that whole DUI thing that now sees him as a member of the New England Patriots. John Brown dealt with a sickle cell trait all season that caused pain in his legs, which limited his effectiveness. Jaron Brown tore his ACL in October. J.J. Nelson flashed some real explosiveness, but was also plagued by drops and inconsistency at times.
If the plan is for Fitzgerald to retire either before 2017 or after it, the Cardinals are going to need a backup plan. The team cannot afford to go into the season with the Browns, Nelson and Brittan Golden as their only receivers. General manager Steve Keim knows this and likely plans to address that issue this offseason, but the question still remains on how he plans to do so.
Does drafting one with the 13th overall pick make any sense?
Of course, the last time the Cardinals drafted a wide receiver in the first round, it didn't really pan out. Michael Floyd was expected to replace Fitzgerald whenever he moved on, but he couldn't stay out of legal trouble. But as we have seen along the offensive line, one bust (Jonathan Cooper) has not deterred Keim from continuing to draft high at a position (D.J. Humphries).
Some options at wide receiver in the draft for the Cardinals with the 13th pick include Mike Williams from Clemson, John Ross from Washington, Corey Davis from Western Michigan and possibly even JuJu Smith-Schuster from USC. If they want to try and replicate what Fitzgerald has given them throughout his career (good luck), Davis or Williams might be their best bet, as they are thought to be the bigger and more physical receivers of the group.
What do you think, Cardinals fans? Should the Cards go back out on a limb and take a wide receiver this high in the draft? Or should they rely on Steve Keim's ability to find late round gems to fill this hole?