Andre Roberts ready for breakout season

Jul 28, 2011, 4:27 PM | Updated: 5:46 pm

The Cardinals lost WR Steve Breaston to the Kansas City Chiefs, and their response to his defection may frustrate people.

The Cardinals, it would seem, are comfortable with the internal options to replace the former starter, with plans to use Early Doucet and Andre Roberts more.

While that may not sound like a good idea, Roberts, in particular, could surprise — in a good way.

According to ESPN, the second-year pro is the 13th-most likely player to have a breakout season.

The Cardinals’ coaching staff became more and more enamored with this third-round pick as the season went on; by the final two weeks, he was basically playing ahead of starter Steve Breaston. With Breaston gone, Roberts’ speed, athleticism and health should give him the No. 2 receiver job ahead of Early Doucet. His poor rookie DVOA rating of minus-39.7 percent can be blamed in large part on last year’s awful quarterback situation. Ten of the 25 incomplete passes to Roberts were marked by our game charters as “overthrown,” including a quick hitch pass behind the line of scrimmage.

Even the most ardent Roberts doubter had to see his improvement as the season progressed, as he grew from a guy who couldn’t catch anything in training camp to a player who the team relied on down the stretch.

Of Roberts’ 24 catches as a rookie, nine came in the team’s final two games, including a 110 yard effort in a win over Dallas.

With good size and speed, Roberts has potential to be a good receiver in the NFL. Getting to that point in year two would really help the Cardinals withstand the loss of Breaston.

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