Cardinals wide receiver Carlton Agudosi makes a catch during offseason work.
Bruce Arians, like the rest of us, wishes to unravel the mystery.
When the Cardinals went searching for undrafted rookies in late April, Carlton Agudosi stuck out. He was 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds with the best vertical jump, broad jump and three-cone numbers of any player at Rutgers’ Pro Day.
While that combination of traits was intriguing, his production was puzzling. Agudosi finished his four-year career with the Scarlet Knights with only 35 catches for 513 yards and two touchdowns. His senior season, in particular, led to pause, as Agudosi hauled in just eight passes for 85 yards and one touchdown.
“I don’t know if it was quarterback, scheme or what it was,” Arians said. “That’s a big, tall fast guy that should have had big numbers in college.”
So what was the issue? Not surprisingly, there were several, the most obvious being that Agudosi didn’t see a lot of playing time. Beyond that was the instability of the program. Agudosi cycled through five offensive coordinators and five position coaches in his five seasons at the school.
Injuries played a role in Agudosi’s struggles, as did Rutgers’ poor offense. The Scarlet Knights averaged only 15.7 points and 138.3 pass yards per game last season, so while Agudosi wasn’t on the field a lot, his prospects were limited when he did get snaps.
Add it all together, and it didn’t surprise Agudosi when he was bypassed in the draft.
“My stats weren’t that good,” he said. “I had a pretty good junior year, and as a senior I was expecting to come out there and tear it up. It was definitely hard going through a season like that.”
The Cardinals were happy to take a flyer on him as an undrafted free agent, and Agudosi has been praised more than once by Arians during offseason work. He has the physical tools to succeed, but Agudosi also knows a roster spot will be hard to secure.
“I’m my harshest critic, and I understand that it’s a competitive league,” he said. “So getting praise in May and June isn’t going to get me a job in September. Honestly, I’ve just got to focus on learning the plays and trying to do everything right, catching the ball and just staying focused on my job, so that he’s saying good things about me when the season starts.”
Agudosi was quite the basketball player in high school, drawing interest from some mid-major college programs. He played on an AAU team in New Jersey which featured Kyrie Irving one age group above him.
While the hardwood would have been a legitimate option, Agudosi said his first love was always football, and he never second-guessed the choice despite his bumpy career.
“I didn’t regret it at all,” Agudosi said. “I was doing what I loved to do, and I knew that everything happens for a reason. I saw myself getting better, and I knew with my physical traits that if I was able to get better and learn the game, I’d have a chance.”
Now he’s on a 90-man roster in the NFL, and as training camp approaches, Agudosi is hoping to unlock that potential and finally make his mark.
“I’m excited that I have a shot,” Agudosi said. “I’m blessed. I didn’t have a big senior year but I still have an opportunity. It’s all coming together, but I have to make it actually come through.”