Monday, June 20, 2011
Breaking down wide receivers: Arizona
By Matt Williamson
Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson breaks down the wide receivers of each NFC West team. Today: Arizona Cardinals.
Larry Fitzgerald is far and away the best wide receiver in the NFC West. It isn’t even close. Statistically, 2010 was a down year by Fitzgerald’s extremely high standards, but he still produced and obviously was hindered by the play of Arizona’s quarterbacks. Fitzgerald is a true student of the game and has the best ball skills in the league. He isn’t a burner, but he can get deep. When the ball is in the air, it belongs to him. He is big and physical and has improved a great deal after the catch. He is a superstar.
Steve Breaston, who had 47 catches for 718 yards in 2010, may not be back in Arizona next season.
Steve Breaston, who could leave in free agency, was at his best when he had Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin taking pressure off his narrow shoulders. Breaston put together a pretty pedestrian 2010 campaign, but like Fitzgerald and all of Arizona’s targets, he was not helped by QB play. Breaston is good after the catch and can make big plays with the ball in his hands. He has good speed and some big-play ability, but he isn’t especially strong. His reception totals have decreased the past three seasons, and drops were a problem last season. Breaston probably has peaked, but that isn’t to say that he can't be a useful member of any passing attack.
Early Doucet has size, strength and decent movement skills. There is ability there, but he fought injuries last year, which has become the norm for him. This is a player who could surprise, though, and break out if the supporting cast is substantially enhanced.
A guy I really like is Andre Roberts, and I expect him to take a big leap forward in his second season. He could end up being the starter opposite Fitzgerald if Breaston departs. Not especially tall, but well built, Roberts is quick and explosive. He came on strong to finish the season, which I expect to be a sign of good things to come.
Stephen Williams lit it up in the preseason and looked like he might be a factor early in the season but did little of consequence when it mattered. Williams’ height is what stands out most. Max Komar also is in the picture, but he is very unproven. Komar did catch six passes over the final two games, though. His role could expand.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com. Follow Matt Williamson on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL