Larry Fitzgerald's Injury Presents Opportunity for Michael Floyd to Shine

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 16, 2013

December 30, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11, left), wide receiver Michael Floyd (15), and tackle D'Anthony Batiste (74) celebrate after Floyd scored a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

During the Arizona Cardinals' 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions, star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald left the game after aggravating a hamstring injury. Since then, the NFL community has been struggling to determine the significance of the injury.

While no one wants Fitzgerald to miss time, one individual benefits from the star being hobbled: second-year receiver Michael Floyd.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Fitzgerald didn't make his lingering hamstring injury any worse during Week 2. Instead, he simply struggled to play through the pain.

Below, you can see a full breakdown of what this injury could mean for Fitzgerald's future via B/R's resident injury expert, Will Carroll.

No one wants Fitzgerald to miss time, but if he does, Floyd will reap the benefits.

Floyd was selected No. 13 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, as the Cardinals looked to give Fitzgerald his first reliable No. 2 since Anquan Boldin departed in 2010. As a rookie, Floyd played in all 16 games and caught 45 passes for 562 yards and two touchdowns.

Here's why Fitzgerald's injury presents Floyd with the perfect opportunity to finally break through.


Big-Play Threat

For those unfamiliar, Floyd is a 6'2" and 220-pound wide receiver who caught 271 passes for 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns in four seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He topped 1,000 yards receiving twice and amassed at least nine touchdowns in each of his final three seasons.

You could see why he was a top 15 pick in 2012.

The most dangerous aspect of Floyd's game is how lethal he is once the ball is in the air, as he has the size, power and hands to step up against any cornerback or safety.

Not only does this make him a quality option on a down-by-down basis, he's also dangerous in the red zone.

With Carson Palmer at quarterback, there couldn't be a better fit.

Andre Roberts has been impressive, but Floyd has averaged 14.9 yards per reception through two games. That includes a 44-yard reception in Week 1 that displayed just how much damage he can do once the deep ball is thrown up.

If Fitzgerald misses time, that means Floyd will have even more opportunities to shine in that capacity.

Roberts, 5'11" and 195 pounds, is a very good receiver, but his size limits his downfield potential. Floyd, three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier, is the only player other than Fitzgerald who can help in that regard.

Also keep in mind that the Cardinals don't have a run game to turn to.


Need to Throw

In Week 3, the Cardinals will play the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. The Saints may be struggling to get their offense going, but with Drew Brees under center, an eruption could come at any moment.

For that reason, the Cardinals will need to throw the football—as if they have another option to begin with.

Rashard Mendenhall has topped 60 yards in consecutive games, but the Cardinals' run game is limited to short-yardage situations and plays to open up the pass.

Palmer is averaging 39.5 pass attempts per game, and against a team that's known to run up the score, that number is unlikely to decrease.

Someone needs to catch the passes.

The Saints may have an improved defense, but Floyd is the type of receiver who has been known to exploit the secondary. He has the size to go up against the safeties and the strength to overwhelm the corners, which makes him an intriguing fantasy option in Week 3.

After this matchup, we'll have our answer regarding whether or not Floyd can become a star in 2013.