Pictured Above: Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson #12
If you are the GM of a team that is looking to acquire a big target WR this off-season, you have picked the right year.
Adding a big WR could make a good deal of sense for the Cardinals, particularly if Larry Fitzgerald retires or signs elsewhere in free agency.
Check out the 2021 UFA “Big Target” WR market (with PFF UFA ranks and projected salaries per annum):
- Allen Robinson (CHI) —- $21M —-#3
- Kenny Golladay (DET) —- $21.5M —- #4
- Ju Ju Smith- Schuster (PIT) —- $17M —- #24
- Corey Davis (TEN) —- $16.5M —-#25
- Marvin Jones (DET) —- $9M —- #48
- Breshad Perriman (NYJ) —- $8M —-#99
- A.J. Green (CIN) —- $10M —- #108
- Larry Fitzgerald —- $5.5M —- #122
- Josh Reynolds (LAR) —- $4.5M —- #131
- Kendrick Bourne (SF) —- $6.25M —- #132
It would be surprising, due to the Cardinals 2021 salary cap limitations, to see the Cardinals sign a free agent WR who will command more that $10M a season.
Most likely target for Cardinals: Breshad Perriman because of his size, speed, wingspan and his connection to Shawn Jefferson, his WRC with the Jets. He’s 27. 2020 PFF grade: 63.1. Perriman has a rare combination of size and speed.
Sleeper: Kendrick Bourne. Good red zone target. While he’s not a blazer, he has a knack for using good leverage and quick plant pivots to gain separation. Caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards (13.0 ave.) and 7 TDs the past two seasons combined. He’s 25. 2020 PFF grade: 72.0
Big Target WRs in 2021 NFL Draft:
Round 1 Prospects:
- Kyle Pitts, 6-6, 240, Florida
- Rashad Bateman, 6-2, 210, Minnesota
Kyle Pitts, the hybrid WR/TE, is a top 10 pick, possibly even top 5 as the first receiver off the board.
Most likely target for Cardinals: Rashad Bateman. One could easily imagine that Bateman would be a favorite of Jerry Sullivan’s and Shawn Jefferson’s. He uses his length to his advantage, has very good speed (4.38 - 4.40), attractive RAC ability and velcro hands.
Round 2 Prospects:
- Terrace Marshall, 6-3, 200, LSU
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, 6-1, 195, USC
Most likely target for Cardinals: Terrace Marshall. Chances are that Terrace Marshall will be taken by the time the Cardinals pick at #48. Jerry Sullivan worked with Marshall when he was freshman at LSU and, if Jerry Sullivan likes him as much as Rashad Bateman, then it’s possible the Cardinals could trade down from #16 and pick Marshall while being able to pick up an extra draft pick or two.
Sleeper: Amon-Ra St. Brown. he reminds me of a slightly taller and quicker version of fellow USC Trojan WR Robert Woods. Cut from the same cloth in terms of toughness, production and competitive fire.
Round 3 Prospects:
- Tamorrion Terry, 6-4, 210, Florida St.
- Seth Williams, 6-3, 211, Auburn
- Sage Surratt, 6-3, 315, Wake Forest
- Nico Collins, 6-4, 215, Michigan
- Trevon Grimes, 6-4, 218, Florida
- Damonte Cioxie, 6-3, 200, Memphis
Most likely target for Cardinals: Tamorrion Terry. “Scary Terry” is surprisingly agile and fast (ran one catch while timed at 23.5 MPH) for a WR of his length. Was used much like a K-Raid WR at FSU, catching a number of WR screens and quick passes, which set him up for some over-the-top home runs.
Seth Williams plays faster than his projected 4.56 speed suggests. He reminds me of a taller version of Frank Sanders, a former Auburn WR who played well for the Cardinals.
Sage Surratt isn’t a blazer, but like Adam Theilen, he uses his length to his advantage and he has an uncanny penchant for winning 50/50 balls.
Nico Collins. His performance at the Senior Bowl certainly boosted his draft stock, but it’s quite possible that he will be available at pick #79. Much may depend on his 40 time and workout numbers. Regardless, Collins has raw physical talents and a knack for scoring TDs. With the right coaching, he could develop into a solid WR2 or WR3.
Sleeper: Trevon Grimes. Kyle Pitts wan’t the only big play, big target receiver the last couple of seasons with the Gators. The Ohio St. transfer’s production grew steadily each year, highlighted in 2020 by his career highs in receptions (38), yards (589) and TDs (9). The Cardinals new WRC Shawn Jefferson would know Grimes well, because Grimes was a Gator teammate of Shawn’s son Van. Per reports Grimes recently ran a 4.47, which is remarkable for his size.
Super Sleeper: Damonte Coxie. Take a look at his tape here. What NFL receiver does he remind you of? I am thinking Kenny Golladay. Golladay was from a mid-major as well.
Round 5 Prospects:
- Tyler Vaughns, 6-2, 190, USC
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette, 6-2, 175, Iowa —- good return man
- Brennan Eagles, 6-2, 225, Texas —- super strong, tough
- T.J. Vasher, 6-6, 210, Texas Tech
Cardinals most likely target Tyler Vaughns. Good size, quick out of his breaks and has RB RAC ability.
Sleeper: T.J. Vasher. Kliff recruited Vasher and loved taking advantage of his 6-6 210 frame. As you will see in the highlight tape, for a WR of his length, he has nifty feet and sticky hands.
It’s likely that the Cardinals will try to add two WRs to the roster this off-season, a free agent and a draft pick. The question is whether the free agent will be a slot WR or one of the bigs. As you can see, the depth at big target WRs in this draft is impressive.
Thus, my next thread will be an inside look at the slot WR candidates in free agency and the draft. I will try to have it to you by Wednesday, if not sooner.
If there is a WR free agent or draft prospect whom you would like my analysis of, please let me know and I will do my best to provide it for you.
In the meantime, what combo of slot WR and big target WR would you like to see the Cardinals acquire? If you are including one of the high priced UFA WRs, then please indicate how the Cardinals can create cap room for him (like backloading the contract, for starters).