It was only the first preseason game, but the Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiving corps looked mighty talented and mighty deep — thanks in large part to a pair of rookies.
With Michael Floyd and Ted Ginn Jr. sidelined for Saturday’s preseason game due to precautionary reasons, third-round draft pick John Brown and sixth-round pick Walt Powell took the opportunity and ran with it in a 32-0 blowout of the Houston Texans.
Brown, the No. 91 overall selection out of Pittsburg State, was a popular target for both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
On Arizona’s opening drive, Brown’s 25-yard haul on 3rd and 16 set the wheels in motion for what would eventually turn out to be a 79-yard trip into the end zone.
“They called the play and once I saw the defensive back drop down, I knew the ball was coming to me,” said Brown of his first catch. “I kind of bobbled it but kept my on it to make sure I caught it. That’s something I’ll always remember.”
While Palmer’s night was done after the lone touchdown drive, Brown was just heating up.
With Stanton behind center on the Cardinals’ second drive, Brown proved to be a prominent figure — catching passes for six and 24 yards and drawing a pass interference call for 39 yards. The drive would ultimately conclude with a five-yard touchdown strike to Jaron Brown.
The rookie wideout would catch two more receptions on the evening to finish with a game-high 87 yards.
“It amazes me that he came from Division II football,” Palmer said of Brown. “All of a sudden it’s a little bit faster and it’s a little more complicated and there’s pressure and all those sorts of things, but just to see the way he reacted is very encouraging. You’ll know Monday night [against the San Diego Chargers] that he’s not going to change.
“He doesn’t go up and down. There’s no ebb and flow with him. He’s very consistent, very calm.”
Powell, meanwhile, did most of his damage on one play.
Leading 17-0 in the second quarter, Arizona faced a 2nd and 10 from its own 29. Throwing out of the shotgun formation, Stanton found the 6-foot standout out of Murray State wide open downfield for a 45-yard connection.
The Cardinals would later cash in with a 28-yard-old field goal from Chandler Catanzaro.
In addition to his long second quarter reception, Powell caught completions of 11 and 18 yards from Logan Thomas in the second half.