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Arizona Cardinals’ Intriguing Wide Receiver Group

The Cardinals find themselves in a good wide receiver problem

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cardinals had a very big need at the wide receiver position.

They weren’t aggressive in pursuing a receiver in free agency, signing both Kevin White and Damiere Byrd to one-year deals.

The Cardinals were expected to draft at least one wide receiver in the draft, but I doubt many people anticipated them drafting three.

Their second-round pick Andy Isabella was one of the fastest players at the NFL Combine, clocking a 4.31 second 40-yard dash. He was also one of the more productive receivers in college football, making 102 catches for 1,698 receiving yards and scoring 14 total touchdowns last season. He’s been praised for his work ethic as well as his good pre-draft interviews. He’s only 5-9 but also fast and elusive, which should work well in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Expect him to be used primarily in the slot, where he was most dangerous at the University of Massachusetts. He currently owns the title for the most career receiving yards (3,526) at UMass, surpassing Tajae Sharpe last season.

Some how, the Cardinals were able to land Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler in the fourth round. He was expected to be a second-round pick but fell due to the drops he had in college. Even then his big-play ability is well-noted, with the most 20-plus yard catches (19) in college football last season. At 6-5 225 pounds, he is a big wide receiver that the Cardinals desperately need on the outside. His combination of speed (4.48 40) and size easily makes him one of the more intriguing players on this team. He had 1,318 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2018. He should be a starter sooner rather than later.

Then they added KeeSean Johnson in the sixth round. He posted back-to-back 1000-yard seasons and is the record-holder for career receptions (275) at Fresno State, record previously held by Davante Adams. He’s not very fast (4.6 40) but he makes him for his lack of speed with his high football IQ and ability to come down with the football. He has strong hands and is a better route-runner than people give him credit for.

This team already has future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Despite being 35 years old, he is still playing at a very high level and is the best mentor for all of the rookie receivers. The Cardinals 2018 second-round pick Christian Kirk was most-dangerous after the catch and was productive lining up all over the field last season.

They claimed Pro Bowl return-specialist Pharoh Cooper off of waivers last season. Trent Sherfield was the Cardinals’ best undrafted rookie in 2018, being productive on special teams and as a receiver (210 receiving yards) in limited reps.

It is safe to say that Fitzgerald, Kirk, Isabella, and Butler will make the 53-man roster. The Cardinals normally keep at least six receivers at the start of the regular season, meaning there could be two or three more roster spots available.

Their 2017 third-round pick Chad Williams will have one final opportunity to prove himself, after having two underwhelming seasons to start his career.

Beyond the names I’ve already mentioned, Malachi Dupre, Bryant Mitchell, A.J. Richardson, and Jalen Tolliver are the other receivers on the team.

The Cardinals will have some tough decisions to make at the conclusion of the preseason.

Kyler Murray now has a lot more weapons to work with, which should make him and Kliff Kingsbury very happy.

Who would you like to see the Cardinals keep at the back end of the roster?

Let’s see what happens!