The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is one part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player (rookies don’t count) for the 2013 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Arizona Cardinals, that player is wide receiver Michael Floyd.
Michael Floyd was a 1st round pick of the Arizona Cardinals last year, taken with the 13th pick at the urging of Larry Fitzgerald, who felt that Floyd could be what Anquan Boldin once was, someone to take the bracket coverage off of Fitzgerald. However, because of this fantasy football centric/immediate results world we live in, Floyd was seen as largely a disappointment.
However, when you look at history, there is nothing disappointing about his rookie year. Receivers, even 1st round picks, take at least a year to come around. Since 2005, 28 receivers have gone in the 1st round. They’ve averaged 40 catches for 557 yards and 3 touchdowns per season. Floyd’s 45 catches for 562 yards and 2 touchdowns are actually right in line with that and he got better as the season went on, catching 32 passes for 435 yards and a touchdown in his final 8 games, culminating in a 8 catch for 166 yards and a touchdown performance week 17.
Plus, he did that despite some of the worst quarterbacking in the NFL. The Cardinals ranked dead last in the NFL, averaging 5.6 YPA, 28th totaling 3005 yards, 31st totaling 11 touchdowns, and led the NFL with 21 interceptions. The only serviceable one of the bunch, Kevin Kolb, only played the first 6 weeks of the season and Floyd only played 162 of 424 snaps in those 6 games, 38.2%. The rest of Arizona’s quarterbacks threw 3 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. It’s no surprise that Floyd’s big game week 17 came in the first game he played serious snaps with even a legitimate NFL backup caliber quarterback under center in Brian Hoyer, who went 19 of 34 for 225 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.
This off-season, the Cardinals went out and added Carson Palmer to play quarterback. Palmer isn’t a great quarterback or anything. He’s an average at best quarterback declining as he heads into his age 34 season. He turns the ball over too much and isn’t good in the red zone, but at least he has enough throwing ability to get the ball to a very, very underrated receiving corps in Arizona and he’s always been good in garbage time.
Floyd is expected to win the starting job over Andre Roberts, though the two will probably rotate snaps and work together in 3-wide receiver sets. Palmer threw for 4000 yards on a 4-12 Oakland team that only scored 18.1 points per game and could do something similar this year in Arizona (they have more supporting talent though). They might not win a lot of games, but their receivers should be able to get theirs and show their ability. Floyd figures to see plenty of single coverage and could have a breakout year as a complement opposite Larry Fitzgerald.