Arizona Cardinals: Predicting the 2012 Wide Receiver Depth Chart
Prior to this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals had lost two solid receivers in back-to-back years. In 2010, they traded Anquan Boldin to Baltimore, and last year, Steve Breaston signed with Kansas City in free agency.
This offseason, however, they made sure that they would add to their receiving core. Arizona re-signed Early Doucet and drafted Michael Floyd with the 13th overall pick.
The Cardinals have a few wideouts that will be fighting for a job over the next few weeks, so it is time to dive in and take a look at how it will shape up.
Here is the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver depth chart.
Arguably the best wide receiver in football, Larry Fitzgerald signed an eight-year deal with Arizona last offseason and will continue to be their go to guy. Right now, he is the leader of that offense and will be for a while unless one of the quarterbacks steps up in a big way.
Fitz has caught at least 80 passes for over 1,000 yards in five straight seasons despite having guys like Derek Anderson and Max Hall under center.
Barring an injury, Larry Fitzgerald will be the Cardinals No. 1 receiver again in 2012.
One of the most interesting position battles for Arizona will be between Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. Roberts started in all 16 games last season, catching 51 passes for 586 yards. He also added two touchdowns.
While I would like to see Michael Floyd get the nod, Roberts will likely win the starting job early on.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt has a history of favoring veterans over rookies, and the coaches believe that Roberts has developed into a good player. He is your No. 2 receiver for now.
Watching Early Doucet in 2011 was very frustrating. Throughout the year he had a couple of key drops that almost cost the team dearly. His slip-up against the Bengals also put the Cardinals playoff hopes to rest.
Despite a few costly errors, Doucet still had better numbers than Andre Roberts. He caught three more passes, had over 100 more yards and reached the end zone three more times.
After doing a little bit of experimenting last season, we found out that Early Doucet is best suited in the slot. That is where he will end up in 2012, and he will stay there while Floyd and Roberts fight for the No. 2 spot.
Arguably the best wide receiver that came out of the draft, Michael Floyd was the second receiver taken behind only Justin Blackmon. The Notre Dame standout will get to see the field this season even though I have him pegged as a backup.
Floyd lands in a great situation in Arizona. While the quarterback situation is not ideal, he is already being mentored by Larry Fitzgerald. The rookie will not get to start right away, but his progression will be the deciding factor in how soon he starts and the amount of playing time he gets.
Taken by the Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2011 draft, DeMarco Sampson made a huge splash early last season. He was impressive in camp practices and continued his success into the preseason.
Over the first two games of the preseason, Sampson caught five passes and led all wide receivers in yards with 115. He made the squad and would proceed to appear in 12 games. He caught three passes for 36 yards.
Barring an off-field issue, expect DeMarco Sampson to make the roster again in 2012.
One man who is flying up the depth chart is LaRon Byrd, who was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. Surprisingly, Byrd has already drawn comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald as he has made a couple of very impressive catches.
At 6’4”, 220 pounds, his athleticism is not something that needs to be questioned. He is a big and physical receiver who may surprise you over the next few weeks.
Byrd is not expected to make the team, but he does have the potential to beat out Stephen Williams for the final roster spot.