Cardinals WR A.J. Green picked as player in 2021 to ‘blow our mind’

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Every year, players have seasons that surprise and awe fans. Who will be those players in the 2021 season?

That question was asked of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football analysts.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White and Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young were mentioned, but Nate Burleson had a surprise.

He named Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green.

“I feel like A.J. Green has a lot to prove,” Burleson said. “I feel like this old but young man still has a lot of routes left in his legs.

“I say old but young because he’s been in the league quite some time but he’s also sat on the sideline a long time at the end of his stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, so his body doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear aside form the injuries that he’s dealt with. Now he’s healed up he’s healthy and more importantly he doesn’t have to be ‘the man’.

“You have Christian Kirk who is really the No. 2 out in Arizona, and of course you have DeAndre Hopkins, and you have a quarterback who can get outside of the pocket and extend plays.”

The Cardinals believe Green can still be very good. He will no longer be the focal point of opposing defenses. Steve Keim noted he still gets separation, he still can move, he has great hands and catches the ball well in traffic.

He only had 47 receptions last season on 104 targets in 2020. Keim said 38 of the passes thrown to him last year were uncatchable.

Will he go back his his days of 80-90 catches and 1,200 yards?

Depending on the overall production the Cardinals have in the passing game, it is possible, but that is probably setting too high a bar.

That said, Burleson has a point.

“Don’t sleep on A.J. Green. I know we like to write off older wide receivers, but this might be the year where a few older wide receivers remind you how good they are.”

Will his season “blow our mind?” I think that is a bit hyperbolic, but he certainly can have a surprisingly productive season and even be great.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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