First-round picks usually come with talent. They always come with expectations.
Arizona Cardinals 2012 first-round NFL Draft pick, wide receiver Michael Floyd, arrived in Glendale with both.
By the end of his rookie season, which was weighed down by a faulty offensive system, marred by poor and inconsistent quarterback play, Floyd had 45 receptions and 562 receiving yards — ranking fourth among first-year receivers in both categories.
Now, under new coach and play-caller Bruce Arians, and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, the 23-year-old seems poised to breakout in his sophomore year. At least according to them.
“We expect Mike to have a big year,” Palmer said Monday from Cardinals’ practice.
“He’s done a great job in camp. He’s made a lot of big plays.”
Along with Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts, Floyd poses a major threat to opposing defenses, especially given his size.
“He’s gone up and high-pointed the ball,” told Palmer. “When you’re built like he is and you’re the type of player and the style of player he is. I think seven out of 10 times, when the ball’s up in the air and it’s a 50-50 ball, he’s got to make it.”
Coach Arians, similarly, when asked how Floyd could improve in his second year in a way that would help the Cardinals offense, answered, “Be a playmaker.
“And when his opportunities come, make them, which he’s been doing.”
After completing his second training camp gauntlet, it seems apparent to those around the team that Floyd’s development trajectory is right on track.
Arians was more explicit about the subject.
“He has improved dramatically from the first minicamp to now,” he said Monday. “Route running, his understanding of concepts, hot (reads), the whole package.
“He’s bought in. He’s playing two to three different positions. I’m really pleased with where he’s at right now.”
Once again, the team’s quarterback is seeing much of the same.
“He’s still young,” said Palmer. “That’s what you don’t realize about Mike, because he is very mature for his age, but he seems like he’s in year four or five. He’s only in year two.”
Along with his maturity, Floyd’s surroundings — specifically, his relationship with Fitzgerald — are believed to have an enormous impact on his development.
“He’s learning from one of the best,” said Palmer. “And we’re still seeing how good he can be. He’s still got a lot of room to improve.”
Finally, the offensive overhaul, from coaching to the offensive line, quarterback to running back, is bound to have an immeasurable effect on Floyd’s performance this year.
“He’ll continue to grow,” Arians said.
“And you’re going to have to account for him.”