The Arizona Cardinals have been busy over the last week, signing Corey Peters, Greg Dortch, and Aleva Hifo.
Both Dortch and Hifo are considered return specialists so it seems the Cardinals are exploring all possible options there. Andy Isabella did not look particularly good as a returner last season and the Cardinals will probably want to preserve Rondale Moore’s health by keeping him off special teams. The same goes for Christian Kirk and his health.
Today, they brought in five veterans for a workout with one having significant returning experience in the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals working out Bennie Fowler, Josh Mauro, Ito Smith, De'Anthony Thomas, Kerrith Whyte— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 6, 2021
Bennie Fowler - Wide Receiver
Fowler (6’1’’ 212lbs) is a former undrafted free agent out of Michigan State who has played for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and most recently the New Orleans Saints. He was released by the San Francisco 49ers less than a week ago. The 30-year-old receiver has 97 receptions, 1,101 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns in his career along with a 20-yard carry for a touchdown. He has not been used much a special teams returner in the NFL, despite having some return experience at the high school and collegiate level.
Josh Mauro - Defensive End
Cardinals fans should be familiar with Mauro (6’6’’ 290lbs). He played for Arizona in the first four years of his career, played for the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, before making his second stint in the desert last season. They waived him off injury reserve in mid-January. He knows defensive line coach Brentson Buckner quite well. He has 127 tackles and four sacks in his seven-year NFL career. Mauro is not much of a pass rusher but is better known for his prowess against the run.
Ito Smith - Running Back
Smith (5’9’’ 195lbs) was a fourth-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons in 2018. He was waived in April as the Falcons’ new head coach Arthur Smith tries to rebuild the team. Smith has 689 rushing yards, 317 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns in his three-year professional career. He was a ball carrier and pass catcher out of the backfield. Smith would bring versatility to any team that signs him. The 25-year-old running back was a standout at Southern Miss with 5.984 scrimmage yards and 49 touchdowns in his four years there.
De’Anthony Thomas - Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
If the Cardinals are looking to find a return specialist with plenty of experience, Thomas (5’9’’ 176lbs) is the best of the bunch among the players they worked out today. Thomas is a former fourth-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2014 draft. He has 98 punt returns for 844 yards and 68 kick returns for 1,588 yards. He has blazing speed, clocking a 4.39 40 at his Pro Day in 2014. He remained with the Chiefs for five seasons before playing for the Ravens in 2019. The 28-year-old return specialist opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was waived by Baltimore in January.
Kerrith Whyte - Running Back
After Thomas, Whyte (5’10’’ 200lbs) has the second-most returns yards of the workout group. The 24-year-old running back has 14 kick returns and 264 return yards in 2019. He had 50 scrimmage yards and scored a touchdown against the Cardinals that year. He attended Florida Atlantic University for college where he played behind Bills’ running back Devin Singletary. Even then, he still set career highs in 2018 at FAU in touches (144), scrimmage yards (1,026), and touchdowns (10).