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PFF: Arizona Cardinals’ receivers group has room for improvement

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals high fives wide receiver Christian Kirk #13 during the NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 33-26. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

While the Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins was recently ranked as one of the best wide receivers in the game by Pro Football Focus, the website’s Steve Palazzolo said the team’s corps as a whole has room to grow.

PFF ranked the Cardinals’ pass-catching group No. 17 in the league, which is last among all NFC West teams.

The San Francisco 49ers came in at No. 7, followed by the Los Angeles Rams at No. 8 and Seattle Seahawks at No. 10.

For Arizona, the addition of free agent receiver A.J. Green made waves, but as he’s coming off a career-low 66.3 overall grade, PFF isn’t sure his contributions will be enough to boost the passing weapons for quarterback Kyler Murray.

The big questions are Green’s health and who emerges as an explosive playmaker — both questions need strong answers if the Cardinals are going to complement Hopkins, who remains one of the league’s best receivers.

PFF believes the Cardinals’ other new receiver addition — second-round 2021 draft pick Rondale Moore — could compete against Christian Kirk as a regular deep threat, but of course, he has yet to prove himself in the NFL.

Kirk caught just six of 19 deep passes (282 yards) in the 2020 season, according to PFF. He finished with 12.9 yards per total reception and was second on the team, behind Hopkins, with 621 receiving yards and 79 targets. Kirk tied Hopkins with six touchdown catches.

Both Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson, the final receivers that round out the group, have struggled to make an impact on the field through two pro seasons. Also hurting Arizona’s ranking, PFF noted that the Cardinals’ utilization of tight ends has been negligible in the passing game, which could continue with Dan Arnold now with the Carolina Panthers.

The tight end position is a secondary option in Arizona’s offense, and they had the second-fewest routes run among tight end groups in the NFL last season. Maxx Williams’ 81.3 run-blocking grade is second-best in the NFL since 2017 and he’s a solid receiver when called upon.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideouts took the top rank, followed by the Dallas Cowboys at No. 2 and Kansas City Chiefs at No. 3.


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