Cardinals Draft WR Christian Kirk After Trading Up for Josh Rosen in 1st Round

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 29:  Christian Kirk #3 of the Texas A&M Aggies catches a touchdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals selected Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk with the No. 45 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft Friday night. 

Here's what Twitter had to say about the Cardinals giving quarterback Josh Rosen, who was drafted No. 10 overall in the first round, a young wideout to develop alongside:

Kirk appeared in 38 games for the Aggies over three seasons, catching 229 passes for 2,796 yards and 26 touchdowns. Although Kirk's receiving yards decreased each year, his 13.0 yards per reception and 10 touchdowns in 2017 were the highest single-season totals of his college career.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Kirk third at his position and compared him to Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. Marcus Mosher of B/R, however, questioned whether Kirk had done enough to justify much of the predraft hype surrounding him:

Kirk didn't quite meet expectations at Texas A&M, though it wasn't entirely his fault.

He was the No. 4 wide receiver nationally in the 2015 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and he seemed a perfect fit for Kevin Sumlin's high-octane offense.

While Kirk was one of the few consistent contributors for a largely erratic Aggies offense, he still wasn't quite the dynamic pass-catcher many fans had hoped to see. Kirk's numbers don't jump off the page, especially when compared to those of fellow former Aggies receiver Mike Evans. Evans had 2,499 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in just two seasons.

However, Evans had the benefit of playing with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel—a luxury not afforded to Kirk.

The Aggies started Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray at quarterback in 2015 before Trevor Knight came on as a graduate transfer for the 2016 season. This past season, Texas A&M relied on true freshman Kellen Mond and redshirt freshman Nick Starkel under center.

That kind of turnover at quarterback didn't make life easy for Kirk. Nor did the team's reliance on inexperienced players such as Murray, Mond and Starkel.

In November, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah spoke with an anonymous NFL executive who considered Kirk to be the top pass-catcher in the 2018 draft class.

"It comes down to [Calvin] Ridley and Kirk," the executive said. "I think Ridley has a higher ceiling, while Kirk has a higher floor. I ended up stacking Kirk ahead of Ridley just because I know exactly what I'm buying. He can be an elite slot receiver and punt returner. He's ready to play right away."

Kirk should have a long, productive career in the NFL, and he should provide plenty of value to Arizona in 2018 and beyond.

The Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald as their top wideout for next season, but with him turning 35 in August, they needed to find a potential long-term option. 

Kirk will be able to learn from Fitzgerald as he gets acclimated to the speed of the game before eventually becoming Rosen's favorite target to help the Cardinals get back to the top of the NFC West. 

Related

    T.O. Calls Brady, Belichick Cheaters

    NFL logo
    NFL

    T.O. Calls Brady, Belichick Cheaters

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Cardinals GM Suspended 5 Weeks, Fined $200K for DUI

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Cardinals GM Suspended 5 Weeks, Fined $200K for DUI

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    T.O. Negotiating Football Comeback with CFL Team

    NFL logo
    NFL

    T.O. Negotiating Football Comeback with CFL Team

    NBCS Bay Area
    via NBCS Bay Area

    Breaking: Cooks Gets $80M Extension

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Breaking: Cooks Gets $80M Extension

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report