Before the 2020 offseason, the Arizona Cardinals receiving core was not a strong point of the team. In fact, most of the speculation surrounding the team was that they would take Oklahoma WR Ceedee Lamb with the #8 pick in the draft.
However, everything changed with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins in one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history. With the addition of an undoubtedly top 3 WR in the league, the Cardinals receiving core has now moved to one of, if not the best core in the league due to 3 major reasons.
The “Domino Effect”
The addition of Hopkins, aside from the extraordinary talent he will provide day 1, also creates a domino effect of sorts for the rest of the receiving core. Larry Fitzgerald will now likely be lined up against the opponent’s second-best cornerback, Christian Kirk against the third best, and so on.
What makes me so excited about this is that Fitzgerald and Kirk did fairly well for themselves in 2019 as the WR1 and WR2, with Fitzgerald racking up 804 yards and 3 TDs at 36 years old.
Not to mention, Kirk was on pace for a 1,000-yard season before missing 3 games due to a nagging ankle injury that kept him from playing fully healthy for the majority of the season. With Fitzgerald and Kirk presumably facing much worse competition this season, I expect a lot more improvement out of them.
Aside from the potential Kirk brings, who is entering only his third NFL season, sophomore WRs Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler bring a lot of excitement and potential to the receiving core in 2020 and beyond.
Both Isabella and Butler were thought to be the best receiver in the 2019 draft class by different scouting agencies, and the Cardinals were able to draft both of them after Butler surprisingly fell to the 103rd pick.
Isabella brings extreme speed, (4.31-second 4o yard dash) and Butler brings extreme size (6′ 5″, 227 lbs, 84-inch wingspan) to an offense that will look to go 5-wide frequently, putting all 5 of the mentioned receivers on the field at once.
Kliff Kingsbury’s Offense
Kingsbury’s famous “Air Raid” passing attack, which finished top 10 in the country in every one of Kingsbury’s 6 seasons didn’t translate entirely to the NFL in 2019, but the passing attack was still 9th in the NFL despite Kingsbury, QB Kyler Murray, and the majority of the receiving core being in their first NFL season.
With a new and improved offense drastically improved by the offseason acquisitions of Hopkins and OT Kelvin Beachum, expect the Air Raid to really take off in 2020, along with the receivers who are a part of it.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated