Now, if early reports from camp are any indication, the Cardinals may have lucked into a speedy diamond in the rough, a third receiver who can stretch the field from the slot.
And if rookie John Brown continues to impress, the Redbirds would be fielding one of the NFL’s most formidable receiving corps in 2014.
We’ve written about Brown on the site before, so if you’re unfamiliar with him check out this post from Davis Mattek. Brown is also a favorite of Matthew Freedman, who narrowly missed the speed receiver in a recent best ball draft.
I don’t think it’s crazy to look at Brown and think that he could get up into the 800 yard range as a rookie. That’s probably the very highest you could project him without an injury to Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Floyd.
But let’s do some back of the napkin math to see how that might be possible. Here is Andre Roberts’ heatmap which shows percent of targets (reTRGMS) and yards per target.
Robert saw about 13% of the ARI targets last year. That number is also consistent with the number of targets that other Arians burners Mike Wallace and TY Hilton saw during their rookie seasons.
Wallace saw 13% of targets his rookie season and Hilton saw 15% upon entering the league.
If you multiply 13% by 579, the number of pass attempts Carson Palmer had last year, you get to 75 targets. In order to get to 800 yards Brown would need to average 10.6 yards per target. Mike Wallace came close twice in his first three years and overtopped that number once. TY Hilton was a full yard shy during his rookie season.
So maybe 800 is just on the aggressive side even as a best case scenario. It’s worth remembering that the Cardinals also have Ted Ginn, so whether Brown can actually total 75 targets is also in doubt.
Brown is currently being drafted as WR93 on sites that even give him an ADP. So he’s really only a thought in fairly deep leagues. But if he works his way into third on the depth chart then he might make a decent pick as a player that could be start-able some weeks on his own and would really pop with an injury to Fitz or Floyd. Maybe its just rookie derangement to think that could happen and Ted Ginn will actually be the third WR on the team. We have a month to find out.