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Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Outlook for 2018

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The Ageless Larry Fitzgerald, Brice Butler to breakout

NFL: Arizona Cardinals Spring Practice The Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Larry Fitzgerald returns for his 15th season and is coming off a year where he tied his career high in receptions (109). He has three consecutive seasons of over 100 catches and 1,000 yards receiving. The 34-year-old future hall of famer will turn 35 in August but plays as though he is in his prime. Fitzgerald doesn’t let his age define his career, with speculations that he would retire at the end of every season. I wouldn’t rule out a 2019 return. In addition to being one of the best to ever play his position, he is the best blocking receiver in the NFL. He is 92 catches and 390 receiving yards away from being second all-time in both statistical categories. NFL history will be made.

Cardinals’ second-round pick Christian Kirk has good size and speed to play on the outside or inside. He was dangerous particularly in the slot at Texas A&M. He is an impressive route runner and has natural hands as a pass catcher to make an immediate impact on offense. He brings value as both a kick and punt returner as well. The Arizona native will now play for the team he grew up watching and learn from the player he most admired in Fitzgerald.

Brice Butler was signed, from the Cowboys, to a two-year deal with hopes of being the No. 2 receiver. The 6’3’’, 220-pound receiver gives the Cardinals a much needed red zone threat, in addition to being a deep threat with his 4.37 40 speed. Although he was fourth on the Cowboys’ depth chart in 2017, he was arguably their best receiver making plays on limited opportunities. He will be a breakout player to watch and for those fantasy owners out there, stash him on your bench.

Fourth-year receiver J.J. Nelson took a step back in 2017, who struggled with ball security throughout the season. He still provides the Cardinals with a deep threat, hence his 18.6 average per catch, and remains one of the fastest players in the NFL. Chad Williams was drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft and had very little playing time, due to being out of shape. This season will be a make-it or break-it year for him.

One of the more interesting players on this team is Greg Little. The 29-year-old receiver is a former second-round pick of the Browns who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2014, in addition to being out of the league since 2016. The Cardinals invited him to their facility on a tryout basis twice, so they certainly see something in him. He struggled with drops in Cleveland and so he’ll have to prove that these problems are behind him. This would certainly make for one amazing comeback story.

The 6’3’’, 210-pound wide receiver Jalen Tolliver was ranked the 46th best undrafted player at his position of 2018 by Gil Brandt of NFL.com. He is coming off back to back 1,000 yard seasons, scoring a total of 39 touchdowns in his time at Arkansas-Monticello. Undrafted rookie Corey Willis has the third-most touchdown catches (23) in Central Michigan’s history. Rashad Ross has hopped around the league, playing for the Bears, Redskins, and most recently the Bills. Carlton Agudosi, C.J. Duncan, and Trent Sherfield are the other receivers on the team.

This is certainly a very interesting group of receivers with a lot of upside. Fitzgerald continues to play at a high level. Butler and Kirk are two new faces that bring home run, red zone threat ability. Nelson, Chad Williams, and Little have a lot to prove before saying their spots on the roster are secured. The undrafted rookies and second-year players are intriguing and definitely worth keeping an eye on. The veterans and rookies from top to bottom have talent to carry this offense to success. This crop of receivers is more talented and dangerous than a lot of people think, but they will need to show it first.