When Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury on November 9th against the St. Louis Rams, Drew Stanton was forced to come into the game. The Arizona Cardinals were down by four in the fourth quarter, but in order to make the drive down the field Stanton needed receivers. Lucky for him, he found John Brown streaking down the middle of the field. Brown made the catch, diving into the end zone, giving the Cardinals a three-point lead and later the victory versus the Rams.
No matter who your quarterback is, if it’s Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton, you need receivers. For the Arizona Cardinals, they have some of the best and most consistent wide receivers in the game.
The Cardinals have at least four solid receivers, but the team will most likely keep at least five, possibly six receivers. The following is the Cardinals depth chart:
Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
He makes the impossible catch look possible; he is the new version of the old. Michael Floyd was the Cardinals 1st round pick in 2012, and since 2012 has never missed a game.
In the 2014 season, Floyd had 47 receptions for 841 yards and six touchdowns. He struggled with injuries throughout the season, with a nagging knee problem that limited his production. He had one of his best games against San Francisco in week 17. Floyd had 153 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the 49ers.
Though Floyd has struggled, he has been good enough to become the number one receiver. With Floyd getting healthy this offseason, this is a make or break season for him. Heading into training camp Floyd will need to stay healthy and get open to be more productive this year.
Dec 11, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers (25) tackles Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
He is the heart and sole of Arizona, the guy that put his team on his back to lead them to the Super Bowl in 2008. Rumors were floating around at the end of the season that he was not expected to return to the Cardinals, but on February 18th Fitzgerald signed a new two-year contract. He is committed to the success of this team.
Larry Fitzgerald may not longer be the number one receiver, but he can still catch passes with the best of receivers. Fitzgerald is getting older and will be receiving less and less attention for the quarterback position, but he will continue to play a key role in the offense.
In 2014, Fitzgerald struggled with a knee injury that he could never really overcome. He had 63 catches for 784 yards, but only two touchdowns.
Heading in to the 2015 season Fitzgerald is looking healthy and ready to get back to the playoffs. Look for him to have a good season, as both he and Carson Palmer are healthy.
Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) looks on prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
He came out of nowhere, and took the league by surprise.
John Brown was the Arizona Cardinals 3rd round pick in 2014, and had an amazing year. He had five touchdowns on 696 yards; two of those touchdowns were late game-winning scores.
This should have been no surprise, if teams had looked at his college stats. In 2013, while at Pitt State, he started all ten games, had 973 yards and eight touchdowns.
Brown can still get better; he has potential to be a great receiver for the Cardinals. In the Bruce Arians system, Brown can have a monster year.
Fans should, have high expectations for Brown, and should look for him to break the 1,000-yard mark this season.
Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) catches a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
He did not have the best year, but he continued to hit the field and got some great NFL experience, doubling his receptions from 2013.
Heading into training camp Jaron Brown has a secure spot on the Cardinals roster after hitting the field in a limited role the last two seasons. The Cardinals’ undrafted wide receiver has been a good piece of the offensive puzzle that is the Arizona Cardinals.
In 2014, Brown played in every game but only got 22 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns. This is after the 2013 season, where he had 11 receptions with 140 yards and one touchdown.
The 25-year-old receiver should continue to improve as he heads into his third season with the Cardinals. Look for him to get around 500 yards and several touchdowns in 2015.
Aug 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Brittan Golden (10) against the Houston Texans during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
He did not make the team last year, and was assigned to the practice squad. Brittan Golden stuck with the Cardinals and is poised to make the roster this season.
Golden has had a rough start to his career. He was originally a Chicago Bears undrafted free agent in 2012, but was released and picked up on the Jacksonville Jaguars for their practice squad. He was then signed to futures contract with the Bears, but soon released. From there the Cardinals picked him up and put him on the practice squad.
Golden got promoted to the active roster in 2013, where he played in five games. He had 136 yards on four receptions.
He will look to prove himself in training camp and make the week one roster. Golden will be a player to watch at training camp because he is fast and explosive, very fun to watch.
Jun 9, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Ryan Spadola during minicamp practice at the Cardinals Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
If the Cardinals want to keep six wide receivers, they will have to look for someone who sticks out in training camp and pre-season. They have five other wide receivers listed on their roster:
Trevor Harman: He is an undrafted free agent signed with the Cardinals after the draft. He is most likely just a practice squad player, or even just someone invited to camp to give quarterbacks’ someone to throw to. He could be a surprise, and make the roster.
JJ Nelson: Unlike Harman, JJ Nelson was the Cardinals 5th round pick in 2015. He is the most likely candidate for the six-receiver position, and will be the player to watch as we head to training camp.
Damond Powell: Another undrafted player, which will be a long shot for a roster spot. Could he compete for the roster spot, we will have to find out come August?
Jaxson Shipley: As many of the players on this list, he is undrafted. A likely candidate for the practice squad, he will try to impress the coaches in camp.
Ryan Spadola: He is in his second season and was on two different teams last season, without a start. The competition will most likely be between him and JJ Nelson for that final receiver position.