Arizona Cardinals: Did They Waste a Draft Pick on Michael Floyd?
Considering that the Card's rank No. 24 in passing offense and have allowed 23 sacks through five games, Arizona hasn't gotten much out of Floyd. With only 60 yards on six receptions and one score, should the Cardinals have gone elsewhere in Round 1 last spring?
The offensive line most definitely needs to improve as does the quarterback play. However, Floyd was arguably the best receiver in the draft and Arizona needed to get Larry Fitzgerald a future complement.
To that end, let's look at why the Cardinals have struggled offensively and how the team can proceed through 2012 and into the 2013 NFL draft.
Injuries More Damaging Right Now
For one, the injury to Levi Brown has been extremely damaging to the blindside. Since tearing his triceps in August, per Mike Florio of NBC Sports, Brown's absence has been immediately exploited by opposing defenses.
Then include running back Beanie Well getting put on the injured-reserve list, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com, and that's two key players going down. Now include Todd Heap who, according to Pat Marrujo of Arizona Sports, injured his knee against the New England Patriots in Week 2 and the tight end has yet to get back on the field.
Heap had caught eight passes for 94 yards to start the season, so for the sake of another reliable receiving option Arizona desperately needs to get him back. In short, injuries are simply crushing the Cardinals right now but sitting 4-1 is impressive thus far.
Big Receivers Create Different Offensive Approach
Regardless of which quarterback is ever under center, the Cardinals possess a distinct advantage with their receivers' size.
Fitzgerald and Floyd are 6'3", Early Doucet is 6'0" and tight end Rob Housler is 6'5". Across the spectrum that is one impressive set of targets for any quarterback to target. And the best approach is to just toss up the ball and let these guys go get it.
This is why Floyd suits well in Arizona.
No matter how vulnerable a team's pass protection may be, a defense will rarely get pressure in one or 1.5 seconds. Whether it's a fade, quick slant, tight end pop-pass or curl to the outside these players present the size to beat anyone in single coverage.
Considering how defensively dominant the NFC West has become, attacking an opponent in this manner will take pressure off the protection and give more balance as well. It's the next draft where the Cardinals can then address up front.
What should the Cardinals have done in Round 1 of the 2012 draft?
2013 NFL Draft Provides Options
Four offensive linemen were taken in the first-round of the 2012 draft.
However, after Matt Kalil at No. 4 overall to the Minnesota Vikings the next linemen selected was Riley Reiff at No. 23. The previous draft was just not as deep with talent as what's capable for 2013.
Two potential prospects from Texas A&M (Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews) and three from Alabama (D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack) possess first-round talent. Others currently worthy of a Round 1 get are Michigan's Taylor Lewan, North Carolina's Johnathan Cooper and Wisconsin's Ricky Wagner.
With eight offensive linemen getting selected in Round 2 of the 2012 draft, Arizona didn't miss with Floyd at No. 13. The receiver position doesn't normally present as much depth as offensive line, so getting the playmakers when available must happen.
All that said, if the protection woes continue for the remainder of this fall and Arizona has to get a top lineman next spring.
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