Shark Bites for Arizona Cardinals 2019 | Shark Bites | Draft Sharks

Shark Bites

The MMQB's Albert Breer hears that Christian Kirk was the most impressive WR in Arizona this spring. The 47th overall pick of last year's draft had a quietly strong rookie campaign, hauling in 43 of 68 targets (63.2%) for 590 yards (13.7 YPC) and 3 scores in 12 games. Kirk ranked 35th in yards per route run among 79 WRs with 50+ targets last year -- despite playing on a Cardinals passing game that generally struggled. Teammate Larry Fitzgerald, by comparison, ranked 54th in yards per route run. We wondered if new HC Kliff Kingsbury saw Kirk as a fit in his offense after Arizona added 3 WRs in this year's draft, but the early returns for Kirk are promising. He's a 2019 breakout candidate in what should be a much better Cardinals offense.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the league has suspended Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson for 6 games for violating the PED policy. Peterson is reportedly not appealing the ban. He's not much of an IDP factor, so the biggest fantasy impact will be on Arizona's first 6 opponents. The Lions, Ravens, Panthers, Seahawks, Bengals and Falcons can enjoy having their lead WRs running free of 1 of the league's top cover men. As for the Cardinals defense, Peterson's early absence should make it easier for 2nd-round rookie Byron Murphy to start right away. Robert Alford will claim a spot after signing a 3-year deal with $13.5 million in guarantees. Arizona also added David Amerson and Tramaine Brock at the position.

The Cardinals have signed TE Maxx Williams. The 55th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft totaled just 63 catches across his 4 seasons in Baltimore. Williams just turned 25, though, so it's too early to bury him. Arizona has now added 3 TEs this offseason: Williams, Charles Clay and rookie Caleb Wilson. Ricky Seals-Jones also returns. We'll see how the situation sorts out this summer.

The Cardinals grabbed Fresno State WR KeeSean Johnson in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson racked up 275 catches over 4 seasons at Fresno State, giving him more career grabs than any other WR in this draft class. He averaged a mediocre 12.4 yards per catch, though, and totaled just 24 TDs. A lot of his production was manufactured by WR screens and other quick-hitters. Johnson was also exposed as a subpar athlete at the Combine, recording a 27th percentile SPARQ score at 6'1 and 201 pounds. His best bet at the next level is as a big slot receiver -- but we're not excited about his upside. Arizona has now added WRs Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and Johnson over the past 3 days.

Here's the full scouting report on KeeSean Johnson.

The Cardinals added Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler with the 1st pick of the 4th round. Butler busted out for a big 2018 campaign, racking up 1,318 yards and 9 scores on 60 grabs. His 22.0 yards per catch led all players with 40+ receptions. And he finished 3rd in the nation with 10 catches of 40+ yards. Butler accounted for 25.3% of the Cyclones’ receptions, 42.1% of the receiving yards and 45.0% of the receiving TDs. Those marks rank 21st, 2nd and 7th among the 48 WRs at this year’s Combine. That was his only big college season, though, and it came as a 22-year-old redshirt junior. He also dropped an alarming 16.7% of his catchable targets last season, according to Pro Football Focus. There’s some bust potential here — but Butler also boasts big upside as a 6’6, 220-pounder with an 84-inch wingspan and 81st percentile athleticism. He joins a revamped Cardinals offense under HC Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray.

Check out the Hakeem Butler scouting report.

The Cardinals selected DE Zach Allen to begin the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Allen clocked an ugly 5.0-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine that produced a well below-average 89.9 speed score. His college production was better, including 10+ tackles for loss each of the past 3 years and 15+ each of the past 2. Allen looks like more of a "base" end with a limited sack ceiling.

The Cardinals selected UMass WR Andy Isabella with the 62nd pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Isabella was a stat-piling machine for the Minutemen, racking up 229 catches, 3,519 yards and 30 TDs over the past 3 seasons. That includes a huge 102-1,698-13 line this past season. Isabella led this year's WR class in yards per route run and received the nation's best receiving grade from Pro Football Focus last year. Then he blazed a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Isabella is undersized at 5'9 and 188 pounds, but his speed will play at the next level. He joins QB Kyler Murray in HC Kliff Kingsbury's new-look offense.

Here's the scouting report on Andy Isabella.

The Cardinals selected Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the 1st pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray spent his first 3 college seasons — 1 at Texas A&M and 2 at Oklahoma — on the bench. He followed Baker Mayfield as the Sooners’ starter this past year and turned in a massive campaign. Murray completed 69% of his passes and averaged an NCAA record 11.6 yards per attempt on his way to 4,361 yards and 42 TDs. He ranked top 2 in this draft class in adjusted completion rate, adjusted completion rate vs. pressure and adjusted completion rate vs. the blitz, according to Pro Football Focus. But what makes Murray such an exciting fantasy prospect is his elite athleticism. (He was also the 9th overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft.) He cranked out 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground last year, showcasing RB-like speed and quickness. His transition to the pros will be made easier in Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury’s college-style Air Raid offense. Kingsbury, of course, has no NFL coaching experience — so this marriage with Murray certainly has bust potential. Murray’s size is also a concern: at 5’10, he’ll be the league’s shortest QB. We’ll see what happens with QB Josh Rosen, but Murray is the heavy favorite to be under center for the Cardinals in the season opener against Detroit.

Check out the full scouting report on Kyler Murray.

The Cardinals have signed WR Damiere Byrd to a 1-year deal. The 5'9, 180-pounder caught just 12 balls across 3 seasons with the Panthers, making his biggest splash in the 2017 preseason opener. We'll see if Byrd can carve out a worthwhile role in a fairly open Arizona WR corps, but he's not likely to factor into the average fantasy football league's draft picture in 2019.

The Cardinals will be signing LB Jordan Hicks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Hicks should grab a full-time role in the middle of Arizona's 3-4 base front and be in line for at least solid IDP value. His departure leaves a void in the middle of the Philly defense. We'll see how the team addresses it.

The Cardinals are expected to sign OLB Terrell Suggs when free agency opens Wednesday, according to multiple reports. Despite turning 36 in October, Suggs never saw much of a playing-time dip in Baltimore and appeared in all 16 games each of the past 2 years -- 15+ games in 5 of the past 6 seasons. He figures to join the edge rotation for an Arizona defense that's switching back to a 3-4 base under new DC Vance Joseph in 2019. We'll see whether the Cards retain free-agent DE/OLB Markus Golden, or if they signed Suggs to simply replace him.

The Cardinals have reached a 1-year deal with former Bills TE Charles Clay. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports it's worth "up to" $3.25 million. That's decent money for a veteran joining an Arizona roster that returns TEs Ricky Seals-Jones and Jermaine Gresham. We'll see how the new coaching staff stacks this crew on the depth chart and what Clay's arrival means for RSJ's playing time. Seals-Jones carries easily the most upside among the trio but will need opportunities. This looks like a situation to avoid until late in current best-ball drafts.

The Bills released TE Charles Clay. The 30-year-old posted a career-low 8.8 YPC in 2018 and continued to battle injuries. Fortunately for Buffalo, the 2019 NFL Draft provides one of the deeper TE classes in recent memory. Consider them likely to invest in a young talent.

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that WR Larry Fitzgerald has re-signed on a 1-year deal and will play in 2019. Fitz lopped 50 targets, 40 receptions and 422 yards off his 2017 totals this past season, in the 1st year with QB Josh Rosen and only season under former HC Steve Wilks' staff. A full offseason with Rosen can only help, and the switch to former QB Kliff Kingsbury can't hurt after Arizona trotted out the league's worst offense a year ago. That said, we shouldn't count on Fitzgerald to jump back to anywhere near his 3 recent campaigns of more than 100 catches. Heading into his age-36 season, Fitzgerald figures to compete with 2018 rookie Christian Kirk for lead-target status. We'll see if Arizona adds to the WR corps in free agency or the draft. Fitz is a solid shot to take around his early 150.3 ADP in PlayDraft best-ball leagues, though that figures to climb now that his return is confirmed.

Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Browns. He finished the week with a full practice, though, and tends to play through "questionable" tags.

Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones (shoulder) is out for Sunday’s finale against the Seahawks. WR Larry Fitzgerald remains the only piece of Arizona’s passing game you should be messing with in fantasy lineups.

Washington on Monday released S D.J. Swearinger. The move followed Swearinger criticizing DC Greg Manusky's playcalling after Saturday's loss to Tennessee. "We should have blowed them out," Swearinger said, per ESPN's John Keim. "If I'm the D-coordinator, I'm calling zone every time on third down because you got a backup quarterback. Make him beat us. We're playing a backup quarterback. Why would you put us in man-to-man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback." That doesn't seem like enough on its own to get a Pro Bowl safety booted. Whatever the full case, Swearinger now hits the open market ahead of Week 17 and the playoffs. We'd be surprised if he makes it to the weekend without a new team.

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (illness) is active for today's game against the Rams. He's not a strong IDP option but is available if he's been in your plans. DE Markus Golden (ankle) is inactive.

The Eagles left MLB Jordan Hicks off the final injury report after he put in full practices Thursday and Friday. Hicks started the week limited by the calf issue that cost him the past 4 games but looks ready for a full return. He'll find a Houston offense that presents a top-6 scoring matchup for fantasy LBs on the year. We've vaulted Hicks up the Week 16 IDP rankings. Elsewhere on the Philly D, DE Michael Bennett is questionable with his foot injury. He has played through questionable tags since Week 13 with the issue. We'll check his status Sunday morning.

Cardinals S Budda Baker (knee) is active for today's game against the Falcons. He's fine to use in IDP lineups as you normally would.

 
 
 

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