Offseason chatter focused heavily on the Cardinals’ search for a No. 2 wide receiver.
Christian Kirk has not only cemented that role through five games, he’s pushed past it. After another big showing against the 49ers on Sunday, the rookie second-round pick leads the Cardinals in catches (19), yards (234) and targets (26).
He had the 75-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the game against San Francisco, brushing aside doubts about his top-end speed. Kirk is second among rookie wide receivers in receiving yards behind only Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley, who has 304.
Kirk is one of eight wide receivers taken in the first two rounds of the draft.
“I obviously pay attention to them,” Kirk said. “Calvin’s a good friend of mine. It goes back to when he was at ‘Bama and I was at A&M. We were always at the top of yards and whatnot in the SEC. It’s always fun to always compete at that, but it’s nothing I worry about. I’m not out there trying to play for stats. But it’s cool to see guys like Calvin and myself doing the same thing we were doing in college and having success.”
Kirk has been impressive at outside receiver, catching 12-of-13 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s particularly noteworthy considering most draftniks considered him a slot receiver coming out of college.
The Cardinals never wavered on using Kirk in a variety of ways. Even in the future when Larry Fitzgerald is no longer in the slot, Kirk would like to move around.
“When you look at the top receivers around the league, a lot of them are just everywhere,” Kirk said. “They’re in the slot. They’re outside. Wherever you can get matchups. If I can do a little bit of both my entire career, that would be awesome.”