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Cards’ WRs: Bigs, Burners and Broncos

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Arizona Cardinals OTA’s Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A couple of years ago, Bruce Arians claimed at the start of training camp that he had 10 legit NFL WRs...that is until a number of them started missing practices due to an assortment of injuries and then came a few cases of the drops.

Of those 10 WRs in 2017 only Larry Fitzgerald and Chad Williams remain---while Jaron Brown, John Brown, J.J. Nelson and Brittan Golden are furthering their careers elsewhere.

As the Cardinals head toward this year’s mandatory minicamp, they have a stable of WRs, most of whom have a legitimate chance to make the 53 man roster.

What is especially attractive about this year’s stable is how deep the Cardinals are in three different categories:

Bigs:

* 11 Larry Fitzgerald: 6-3, 218, 35, Pittsburgh, 16th season (1st Round 2004), 4.67, 16,279 yds., 12.5 ypc, 116 TDs

* 10 Chad Williams: 6-2, 204, 24, Grambling St., 3rd season, (3rd Round 2017), 4.37, 202 yds., 10.1, 1 TD

* 18 Kevin White: 6-3, 216, 26, West Virginia, 5th season (1st Round 2015), 4.35, 285 yards, 11.4, 0 TDs

* 17 Hakeem Butler: 6-5, 227, 23, R (4th Round 2019), Iowa St., 4.48, college stats: 2,149 yds., 19.5, 18 TDs

Burners:

* 13 Christian Kirk: 5-11, 200, 22, Texas A&M, 2nd season (2nd Round 2018), 4.47, 590 yds., 13.7., 5 TDs

* 89 Andy Isabella: 5-9, 188, 22, Massachusetts, R (2nd Round 2019), 4.31, college stats: 3,526 yds.,15.3, 32 TDs

* 14 Damiere Byrd: 5-9, 180, 26, South Carolina, 4th season (UCFA 2016), 4.28, 129 yds., 10.8, 2 TDs

Broncos: (catch and run guys)

* 16 Trent Sherfield: 6-1, 219, 23, Vanderbilt, 2nd season (UCFA 2018), 4.45, 210 yds., 11.1, 1 TD

* 12 Pharoh Cooper: 5-11, 208, 24, South Carolina, 4th season (4th Round 2016), 4.63, 190 yds., 7.6, 1 TD

* 19 KeeSean Johnson: 6-1, 201, 22, Fresno St., R (6th Round 2019), 4.6, college stats: 3,463 yds., 12.6, 24 TDs

* 83 A.J. Richardson: 6-0, 212, 24, Boise St. R (UCFA 2019), 4.55, college stats: 1,474 yds., 14.9, 11 TDs

Numbers That Jump Out:

* Only 1 player with significant NFL production: Larry Fitzgerald

* 7 WRs with sub 4.5 speed: Byrd (4.28), Isabella (4.31), White (4.35), Williams (4.37), Sherfield (4.45), Kirk (4.47), Butler (4.48)

* Rookies Isabella, Butler and Johnson combined for 9,138 yards and 74 TDs---major production at the Div. 1A level

Strong Bets to make the 53 Man Roster:

1. Fitzgerald

2. Kirk

3. Isabella

4. Butler

5. Johnson

It is unlikely that the Cardinals would risk placing any of their 2019 draft pick WRs on waivers.

The chances are pretty strong that the Cardinals will keep 7 WRs because of how often they will employ 4 WR sets in the K-Raid.

Which 2 WRs would you give the nod to?

I think A.J. Richardson is likely to be a member of the practice squad.

Will Chad Williams, Kevin White, Demiere Byrd have outstanding training camps and possibly emerge as mainstays?

Will Trent Sherfield and/or Pharoh Cooper make their case on special teams?

All of the burners, Kirk, Isabella and Byrd have excellent upside as punt returners, which means that Cooper will have to be outstanding to win the job---which, as we know, he is very capable of.

it’s quite possible that some of these players, like Cooper, in particular, could have trade value when final cuts are made.

Who are your best bets?