When you look at the Arizona Cardinals depth chart it’s clear that Larry Fitzgerald will sit atop the wide receiver ranks. Intriguing 2019 draft picks Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler are also mixed in, which could help to distract you from the man who could truly emerge. Sophomore Christian Kirk, a 2018 second round pick, produced a solid though unspectacular line in his rookie season:
43 receptions, 590 yards, 3 TD
Those numbers came with a lot of caveats though:
- He only played in 12 games and had 4 targets or fewer in three others
- Like the entire offense he was handcuffed by poor quarterback play
- The rookie coaching staff was widely considered inept and was therefore replaced in the offseason
Many of the issues were addressed. Kyler Murray was selected with the first overall pick, and while he could struggle at times in his rookie season he’s viewed as an obvious upgrade. Kliff Kingsbury was tabbed the new head coach, and as an offensive coach he should help to improve that unit immediately. We also can’t overlook what a year of experience, learning under one of the game’s best in Larry Fitzgerald, will do for his development.
Prior to the draft Walter Football compared Kirk to the Giants’ Sterling Shepard saying:
Team sources have compared Kirk to Shepard, which makes a lot of sense. Shepard (5-10, 194) and Kirk have similar builds as slot receivers with speed to challenge defenses downfield. Shepard and Kirk both have big-play potential due to their speed and elusiveness.
We’ve seen what Shepard has developed into in the NFL, as he’s learned and evolved. While it still could take some time, especially as Murray and Kingsbury take their own lumps and learn, Kirk should take a step forward this season. As it is he was on pace for roughly 60 catches and 800 yards last season, so would it be a stretch to think 65/850/6 TD as a baseline?
His current ADP is 79.0, making him the 32nd receiver coming off the board. That’s not a significant discount, but he has the potential to be a Top 25 option (more like a player selected in the first five rounds) so at this price he’s well worth the selection.
Sources – ESPN, Fantasy Pros, Walter Football
Make sure to check out all of our 2019 preseason rankings: