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NFL.com’s Brooks: Carson Palmer to John Brown a rising pitch-and-catch combo

All throughout last year’s offseason we heard stories about how impressive rookie receiver John Brown looked.

We also learned that the third-round pick from Pittsburg State spent some of his time working out with Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, with the two developing a considerable bond.

It showed on the field when the games counted, as Palmer and Brown hooked up 19 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns in just six games. Palmer completed 50 percent of his passes thrown to the speedy receiver, and had a QB rating of 90.6 when Brown was the target.

As the Cardinals head into the 2015 season, many eyes will be focused on Palmer’s recovery from a torn ACL as well as Brown’s progression as a receiving threat.

Much is expected from each player, and together, they are viewed as one of 10 rising pitch-and-catch combos by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks.

The Cardinals’ passing game largely runs through big-bodied wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, but Palmer could help Brown become the next small receiver to take the NFL by storm. The Pittsburg State product got lost in the shuffle of an all-time rookie receiver class last season, but he made quite a splash in his own right, hauling in 48 receptions for 696 receiving yards and five touchdowns in a part-time role. Brown is an exceptional deep-ball threat with blazing speed (4.34 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine), quickness and burst. He isn’t a polished route runner at this point, but Brown is such an explosive athlete that Palmer will be able to target him whenever he spots a favorable matchup against an inferior CB3.

Brown admittedly slowed down a bit last season, as he was not quite ready to handle the rigors of an NFL season. He has come back this season even stronger, and has eyes on an even better campaign.

As for Palmer, the veteran passer has progressed nicely from his injury and is set to fully participate in training camp, which will begin on Aug. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.