Cardinals Contributing Writer: Frank Ciriello. Follow him on twiter– @FrankCiriello
62nd overall pick: Andy Isabella
103rd overall pick: Hakeem Butler
174th overall pick: Keesean Johnson
Adding weapons to the offense was one of the major boxes that needed to be checked this off-season and I think GM Steve Keim did just that via the 2019 NFL Draft. Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and Keesean Johnson are the trio of receivers hoping to fill that void for the Cardinals offense. One of the things I loved most about Keim’s approach to this years draft was the theme of production.
Every pick had a track record of production throughout their college careers. More specifically with the receivers, these three all ranked in the top 10 of receiving yards in 2018. Isabella led the nation with 1,698 yards, Johnson came in sixth with 1,340 yards, and Butler came in right behind him at eighth with 1,318 yards. While these three are similar when it comes to proven production, the thing that intrigues me the most is they all have their own unique ability that they will bring to the offense.
- With the 62nd overall pick in the draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected Andy Isabella out of Massachusetts. While he is a smaller wide receiver (5’9”, 188lbs), the guy is a straight burner. He ran a 4.31 and if that does not sell you on his speed, go to YouTube and watch him beat last years number 4 pick Denzel Ward in a track meet. That kind of speed can bring a lot to this offense. Whether it be to take the top off the defense or get them moving sideline to sideline with his jet sweep ability. After watching his tape, one of my favorite traits of his is his ball tracking ability. I saw a countless number of deep balls where he made very difficult over the shoulder catches. That will be huge with Murray’s ability to push the ball down field. I think his role in this offense will be similar to how the Rams use Brandin Cooks.
- The next receiver the Cardinals elected to take was Hakeem Butler out of Iowa State with the 103rd pick. How he was still there in the 4th round is beyond me, but sometimes you need a little luck in the draft and that is just what the Cardinals got with him still being on the board. At 6’5” and weighing 227lbs, Butler is just what the Cardinals have been lacking ever since Michael Floyd has been gone. A big, physical, outside presence. I could very easily see Butler leading the team in touchdowns this year with that frame and physical nature. He will be a huge red zone target and due to his size, he turns 50-50 balls into 60-40. He has worked with Calvin Johnson this off-season leading up to the draft and they both have one thing in common, and that is they have something that cannot be taught with their size. I am extremely excited to watch his progression throughout the course of training camp and the season.
- The final receiver the Cardinals selected was with the 174th overall pick and that was Keesean Johnson out of Fresno State. I absolutely love this pick and think it was one of my favorite of the whole draft class. He is the all time reception leader and receiving yards leader in Fresno State history and was a four year starter. Johnson will not blow you away with speed, but Keim described him as the best route runner in the draft class. He has solid size at 6’1” and 201lbs and reminds me a lot of who he surpassed at Fresno State, and that is Davante Adams. I am interested to see how he will be used in this offense as I can see him being more of a possession receiver and intermediate route runner. The number one thing I loved about watching his tape was he was fearless going across the middle and making catches in traffic.
This three headed monster of receivers has a chance to come in and make an impact immediately. I expect all three to make the roster and see some major playing time, especially with how often the Cardinals offense is expected to go 5 wide.