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Larry Fitzgerald (No. 11)
Ever the consummate professional, Larry Fitzgerald never showed the anger or frustration he surely felt the last three seasons without a capable quarterback. His big-mouthed father did—constantly—but never Larry Jr. It’s hard to remember the last time Fitzgerald the player showed a bigger smile after voluntary practices in June. Palmer should help him get back to the production fantasy owners are used to getting from him, and that makes every Cardinals fan happy.
Michael Floyd (No. 15)
Of the receivers on the roster, Michael Floyd is most like No. 11 and is most likely to produce as Fitz does. He is a physical clone of his longtime friend, and Palmer took a liking to him at OTAs. While it could mean little to nothing during voluntary unpadded practices, it also could be the start of a nice connection. Floyd should be the No. 2 receiver and outside deep threat for Palmer this year, and that will translate to the receiver putting up big numbers in year two.
Andre Roberts (No. 12)
With 2013 being a contract year for Andre Roberts, it goes without saying this is the most important season of his career. Another season in which he improves his numbers could mean a contract extension and decent money. A disappointment of a campaign, and he could be looking to find a new team in 2014.
Ryan Swope (No. 19)
The news is not good for rookie receiver Ryan Swope. He has yet to practice with the team due to fallout from a reported four concussions he suffered in college. Arians was taken aback by his absence, saying in part that he was, “very, very, very surprised” Swope missed so much time (via NFL.com).
Not being on the field sets him back, regardless of how much studying of the playbook he does. Getting into the scheme of things physically is very important, as most NFL corners can keep within arm’s reach of receivers. Small nuances like being a better route-runner can give young receivers an edge, and he’s losing precious experience by missing practice.
LaRon Byrd (No. 17)
An undrafted free-agent signee last year, LaRon Byrd made the initial 53-man roster as a rookie. He did not play much and was a healthy scratch most of the season. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, Byrd has the size to be a good possession receiver in the pros. He also has sneaky speed and can be a deep threat if given the chance. Will he get that chance? He did not impress at OTAs, and he is in need of a huge camp and preseason to make the roster.
Dan Buckner (No. 85)
Former Arizona Wildcats receiver Dan Buckner stands 6’4” and comes in at 215 pounds. As an undrafted free agent, he is considered a long shot to make the roster. But he possesses good hands, and his length could be an asset. We have not heard much from his offseason yet, but with Byrd struggling, Buckner would be a logical choice to supplant him as the big-bodied UDFA on the roster.
Robert Gill (No. 10)
By now, everyone has seen the video in which 29-year-old NFL rookie Robert Gill ran 25 miles per hour on a treadmill. That is both impressive and intense. It may not single-handedly help him make the roster, but if he shows he can run proper routes and has a team attitude, Arians may give him a shot as a speedy slot receiver—especially if Swope is unable to play.
Jarett Dillard (No. 16)
To some, the addition of three-year veteran Jarett Dillard screams “camp body,” but he could be more than that. This video, from a Senior Bowl practice in 2009, shows Dillard’s aptitude for running routes. He is not a pure burner, but—as mentioned with Swope—he creates separation by being able to stop on a dime and change direction.
In 21 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dillard had 35 receptions for 398 yards and a touchdown. He is a long shot to make the final cut. He is in rare company with his new teammate, as he, Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are the only players in NCAA history to catch a touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games. He did so in all 13 games his senior season.
Charles Hawkins (No. 89)
The first of many camp bodies remaining (all mentioned below, in fact), Charles Hawkins enjoyed a decent senior season at Southern University in 2012. He caught only 31 passes, but he scored seven touchdowns and averaged 15.1 yards per catch. He is small, at 5’8” and 180 pounds, and his 4.43 40-yard dash seems slow for a player of his stature (Swope ran a 4.34 at 6’0”, 205).
Kerry Taylor (No. 18)
Former Arizona State Sun Devils receiver Kerry Taylor has been with five teams in two NFL seasons and has yet to play in a game. He cannot get past the practice squad, it seems, and that could be where he is headed in Arizona.
Tyler Shaw (No. 7)
There seems to be a large amount of small-school receivers in the league today, and Tyler Shaw is another. Shaw played his college ball at Northwest Missouri State, catching 166 passes for 3,021 yards and 32 touchdowns. He was productive all four years, never producing less than five touchdowns in a season. But he will not make the roster in the fall.
Jaron Brown (No. 13)
The middle two seasons of Jaron Brown’s Clemson career were his best. He hauled in a combined 63 catches for 813 yards and seven touchdowns. Brown has dabbled in kick and punt returning, and if he is to make the roster, he will have to excel in all facets of special teams. Do not hold your breath, though.
Michael Rios (No. 1)
If you like rounded-off routes, Michael Rios is your guy. He has a lot to learn about being a receiver, and the 6’2”, 203-pound Marist University product will not make the roster based on this. At this point, even the practice squad may be a stretch for Rios.