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2018 Arizona Cardinals WRs

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A look at the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers, the 2018 free agents and the 2018 NFL Draft.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

2017 Receiving Stats:

Receptions:

109---Larry Fitzgerald
31---Jaron Brown
29---J. J. Nelson
21---John Brown
5---Brittan Golden
3---Chad Williams

Yards:

1,156---Fitzgerald
508---Nelson
477---Jaron Brown
299---John Brown
70---Golden
31---Williams

Yards Per Catch Average:

17.5---Nelson
15.4---Jaron Brown
14.2---John Brown
14.0---Golden
10.6---Fitzgerald
10.3---Williams

TDs:

6---Fitzgerald
4---Jaron Brown
3---John Brown
2---Nelson

Analysis: The Cardinals got impressively consistent production from Larry Fitzgerald who topped 100 catches and 1,000 yards and led the team with 6 TDs. Fitz’s 10.6 ypc is the kind of ypc one would expect from a TE and is an indication of how often Fitz was employed in the short passing game.

The other WRs were targeted more downfield as evident by their ypc averages and yards (985 yards from Nelson and Jaron Brown combined). But, none of them was consistently productive.

The red zone production (only 15 TDs) was underwhelming.

Under Contract For 2018:

19 Agudosi, Carlton WR 6-6 220 24 2 Rutgers---big target project who showed some flashes in pre-season. Will need to show marked improvement and STs ability to make the roster.

11 Fitzgerald, Larry WR 6-3 218 34 15 Pittsburgh---legendary first ballot HOF shoe-in, whose play has remained stellar. Is now 2nd all-time in receptions and needs 389 yard to surpass Terrell Owens in all-time receiving yards. Will be the highest paid player on the team with a 2018 cap figure of over $16M.

14 Nelson, J.J. WR 5-10 160 25 4 UAB---speedy home run threat who was very inconsistent in his route running and catching the ball last season. New WR coach, Kevin Garver, needs to help Nelson polish his game as he heads into his contract year.

17 Ross, Rashad WR 6-0 180 28 5 Arizona State---2013 undrafted free agent journeyman who was signed to the PS late last year and was retained this year on a future’s contract. His best year was with the Redskins in 2015 where he had a 101 yard kickoff return TD and a 71 yard TD catch from Colt McCoy.

16 Williams, Chad WR 6-1 204 23 2 Grambling State---last year’s 3rd round draft pick who struggled in training camp and wasn’t used, as his HC predicted, until after Thanksgiving. Williams has intriguing size and speed. Hopefully, he is ready to make a splash this year.

UFAs:

13 Brown, Jaron WR 6-2 205 28 5 Clemson---is the quintessential #4 WR because he makes solid and sometimes clutch contributions as a receiver, blocker and STs player. Jaron wants to become a #2 WR and is hoping to receive a good deal of interest in free agency. He’s overcome back and ACL injuries in impressive fashion.

12 Brown, John WR 5-11 179 27 4 Pittsburg State---when healthy, he’s a dynamic spark plug who has a nose for the end zone. However, complications from sickle-cell anemia have sidelined him repeatedly the past two seasons. He seemed to be disgruntled with the coaching staff particularly when he was called out for not practicing while injured during training camp. Perhaps Steve Wilks’ approach would appeal to Brown, although it is generally expected that a change of scenery might do him well.

10 Golden, Brittan WR 5-11 186 29 4 West Texas A&M---speedy, aggressive STs player who has never gotten on track as a #5 WR or return man. Is well liked by his teammates, but may have to try to make a splash elsewhere.

2018 UFA WRs:
Sammy Watkins (24)---Rams want to keep him and may tag him. Not worth the tag, imo.
Jarvis Landry (25)---would be an ideal, all-purpose WR for the Cardinals. He will be pricey, though.
Allen Robinson (24)---coming off the knee injury, but young, talented and eager.
Marqise Lee (26)---reminds me some of the Rams’ 2017 UFA Robert Woods, can play slot, has RAC ability.
Paul Richardson (25)---speedy home run threat who needs to be featured more.
Terrelle Pryor (28)---coming off down year, is likely headed back to Cleveland.
Jordan Matthews (25)---smooth route runner with good hands, but not very physical.
Mike Wallace (31)---had a good year, but may well be past his prime.
Kendall Wright (28)---starting to come into his own as a slot WR.
Albert Wilson (25)---physical WR, who plays hard and had over 300 RAC yards last year.
Eric Decker (31)---still commands the football, although he seems to have lost a step.
Donte Moncrief (24)---physical and talented, but inconsistent.
Brice Butler (28)---plays well in the clutch, but needs to command his QB’s attention more. Cody Latimer (25)---talented, smooth receiver who got a little lost in the WR shuffle in Denver.
Taylor Gabriel (27)---can separate quickly and scoot big-time in the open field. Coming off so-so year.
Brian Quick (28)---good target, has some 50/50 ability, needs a breakout season
Tavarres King (27)---has big-time speed and good length, but has yet to break through.
Jeff Janis (26)---outstanding at catching Hail Marys! Needs a fresh start.

2018 NFL Draft WR Prospects:

1. Courtland Sutton (SMU)---has size, wide catch radius and big play ability. Some scouts question his speed.

2. Calvin Ridley (Alabama)---gifted, natural runner and receiver who can make plays all over the field.

3. Christian Kirk (Texas A&M)---dynamic slot WR and return man who can flat-out scoot.

4. D.J. Moore (Maryland)---can play in slot and wide, has good wheels and RAC ability.

5. James Washington (Oklahoma State)---deep threat, who looks like a RB.

6. Anthony Miller (Memphis)---highly productive slot WR who is superb in red zone. Can he hold up physically?

7. Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame)---with better QB this year he could be listed as one of the top 3 WRs---has size and surprising separation skills.

8. Dante Pettis (Washington)---nifty slot WR and big-play return man.

9. Auden Tate (FSU)---has good size and playmaking ability. Needs to run we’ll at Combine.

10. Michael Gallup (Colorado State)---speedy sleeper JUCO transfer who put up over 2,600 yards and caught 21 TDs in two seasons.

11. Jaleel Scott (New Mexico State)---another sleeper WR with very good size and uncanny 50/50 skills.

12. Antonio Callaway (Florida)---off the field issues cloud his tremendous package of skills.

13. Deon Cain (Clemson)---rising up draft boards thanks to speed and big-play ability.

14. Simmi Cobbs Jr. (indiana)---has good length and impressive production in Big 10 games.

15. Marcell Ateman (Oklahoma St.)---if he tests well at the Combine, he could be sure-fire 2nd round pick because of size, speed and production.

16. Allen Lazard (Iowa St.)---big, physical playmaker who plays with leverage, not a burner.

Summary: the Cardinals need to upgrade their WR unit. Of course, one way to do that is to give David Johnson a fair amount of snaps at WR. Adding a good sized wideout and a productive slot WR could do wonders in bringing this unit back to prominence.