PFF: Cardinals receivers rank 3rd in NFL, have room to improve

Oct 19, 2016, 5:45 PM

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates La...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates Larry Fitzgerald (11) and D.J. Humphries during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Cardinals’ wideouts haven’t lived up to the lofty expectations through six games this season, but they are still regarded as the third-best receiving corps, according to Pro Football Focus’ receiver group rankings.

The Cardinals’ receivers were expected to be one of the best units in the NFL, but one key player hasn’t been his best. Michael Floyd, now in his fifth season, has had his fair share of struggles as one of the Cardinals’ core offensive targets.

In a contract year, no less, Floyd has seen his snap counts cut in half over the past three weeks because he simply can’t make any plays. His 40-percent catch rate is the second worst of any starting wideout. They still have Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown, though, the former being PFF’s second-highest-graded receiver currently.

Pro Football Focus said that if Floyd is able to recapture his old form, the Cardinals will likely own the No. 1 spot in the receiver corps rankings.

Although Floyd’s catch rate is low, he still managed to account for 192 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald has been tearing up the stat sheet even despite having Carson Palmer sidelined during Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers. Fitzgerald has performed exceptionally well with 410 yards, five touchdowns and catch rate of 66.1 percent through six games.

If Floyd’s catch rate climbs anywhere near Fitzgerald’s, his impact could make the unit a scary one by the end of the year — and in time for a strong playoff push.

Another factor that has prevented the Cardinals from being top contenders has been the play of Palmer.

The quarterback’s performance going into Week 7 has not been on pace with his MVP-caliber season last year. Palmer accumulated 1,737 yards, 14 touchdowns to five interceptions with a completion percentage of 64 through Week 6 in 2015. This season, Palmer recorded 1,363 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions with a 60-percent completion rating. His numbers are noticeably lower, partly due to missing Week 5 in San Francisco for following the NFL’s concussion protocol.

With a few adjustments, the Cardinals’ wideouts aren’t far off from claiming the No. 1 spot in PFF’s rankings.

The No. 1 ranked teams are the New England Patriots (5-1), led by tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett,who are ranked first and second in yards per route for their position. Second in the rankings are the Washington Redskins (4-2), who feature Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, a group that has combined for 923 yards and only two drops.

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