With July here and training camp beginning in just a few weeks, azcardinals.com will take a look at the Cardinals’ individual position groups during this very quiet time in the NFL, and give our opinions about the groups stand prior to camp. Today, wide receivers and tight ends.
WR LOCKS: Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, KeeSean Johnson
TE LOCKS: Charles Clay, Ricky Seals-Jones
The wide receiver position has undergone a swift and radical transformation over the past two seasons, save for constant Larry Fitzgerald. The excellent corps from the 2015 13-3 squad has slowly been turned over to youth. Kirk has a chance to break out. How much – and how soon -- the three draft picks contribute is to be determined, but it’s hard to see a scenario where all three don’t make the 53-man roster, especially with how solid sixth-round pick Johnson looked in offseason work.
Tight end is more of a mystery. Clay seems the perfect fit for the position given what Kliff Kingsbury wants to do. Seals-Jones needs to take a step forward after last season, but again, this offense seems suited for it. How much Kingsbury will actually deploy the tight end is the question – and whether the Cards may look closely at the waiver wire, or if what they have in-house is enough.
WR WORK TO DO: Damiere Byrd, Pharoh Cooper, Kevin White, Trent Sherfield, Chad Williams, A.J. Richardson
TE WORK TO DO: Maxx Williams, Caleb Wilson, Darrell Daniels, Drew Belcher
The Cardinals could keep up to seven wide receivers, especially if three are rookie draft picks and may not be ready to give a lot early. That opens some doors. Byrd and Cooper have flashed some, and both bring the ability to return kicks on special teams, upping their value. The wild card may be White, who has the tools and the size the Cards could use on the outside – if he can produce. Holdovers Sherfield and Williams are battling as well.
At tight end, can Wilson – the last pick in the draft – show enough as a pass catcher? Might the Cards want someone a little more physical at the position like a Williams?
WR UPGRADE ODDS: Low
TE UPGRADE ODDS: Medium
Given the draft capital the Cardinals spent on wide receiver, it’s hard to see them making any big plays for anyone at the position, although if the right guy hit the market – especially a bigger body who can play outside, should White not work out and/or Butler isn’t ready – perhaps they grab someone. Tight end, however, could draw interest as the Cardinals try to sort through the position.
Images of the wide receivers and tight ends on the roster heading into training camp