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Cardinals Draft Primer 2017: Wide Receiver

Posted Apr 18, 2017

The Cardinals could be on the lookout for a Larry Fitzgerald heir

The Cardinals didn’t make a big splash in free agency, preferring to add lower-priced veterans to the roster before turning their attention to the draft. The prospect pool is considered deep this year, and General Manager Steve Keim will aim to add pieces that can make an impact in 2017 and beyond. The three-day draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday, April 27, where the Cardinals have the No. 13 overall pick. Position primers will be rolled out daily as it approaches.

More draft primer analysis: CB

Draft primer: Wide receiver

Players under contract: Larry Fitzgerald; J.J. Nelson; John Brown; Jaron Brown; Aaron Dobson; Brittan Golden; Jeremy Ross; Andre Ellington; Marquis Bundy; Marvin Hall; Chris Hubert; Harvey Binford.

Need: Medium

The Cardinals’ situation: Michael Floyd is gone and Fitzgerald could be playing his final season, so there are some long-term question marks, but Fitzgerald’s decision to return in 2017 kept alarm bells from going off this year. If John Brown can get healthy and J.J. Nelson continues to progress, there are some nice pieces, while Jaron Brown, Golden, Ross and Dobson are all experienced veterans. The Cardinals didn’t sign any big-name wide receivers during free agency and could use an infusion of young talent, but coach Bruce Arians likes the current group.

The draft class: There are three players projected to go in the first round – Clemson’s Mike Williams, Central Michigan’s Corey Davis and Washington’s John Ross – but it’s unknown how many of them will be available at No. 13. The Cardinals  have a pair of speedsters already, so the bigger frames of Williams and Davis may make more sense than Ross, who broke the combine’s 40-yard dash record. The Cardinals have found success hitting on wideouts in the later rounds under Keim and Arians, and may choose to look there again.

The conclusion: The draft has plenty of options, with some elite first-round talents and several intriguing prospects projected to go on the second and third days. The wide receiver group has long been a great strength of the Cardinals but it took a step back in 2016, as multiple players battled injuries and inconsistency. A rookie won’t be needed to come in and dominate if Fitzgerald, Brown and Nelson play to their potential, but it would be nice to have another weapon for this season and the future.

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