Players to Watch: Cardinals vs Raiders

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J.J. Nelson

Aug 22, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) catches a pass against San Diego Chargers cornerback Richard Crawford (35) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals’ fifth round draft pick has looked impressive not only in camp, but in games. J.J. Nelson was the 159th pick in the 2015 Draft out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Nelson came out of the draft as the fastest player, with a 40 time at the combine of 4.28, and has showed his speed many time this preseason. He not only is fast, but also is able to accelerate through holes on special team, ranking third all-time in Conference USA with five kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Cardinals are in need of a punt and kickoff returner after Ted Ginn Jr. left in the offseason. Nelson has looked good on special teams almost breaking through for a touchdown in the Cardinals’ loss to the Chargers. In the first quarter of the Chargers game, Carson Palmer threw a deep ball down the sideline and Nelson turned on the after burners and caught the ball that would have been a ten-yard overthrow for any normal receiver. Let’s just say Nelson is far from normal. Nelson is competing to stay on this team, and with names like Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown it can be a tough competition.

Look for Nelson to get more first team reps in the game, and look for Palmer to be throwing deep often if Nelson makes this roster. It will be a fun, throw-it-deep offense if he can make this team.