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Making the Leap, No. 38: Cardinals WR Michael Floyd

Why Floyd is on the list

Floyd is not short on potential. The Arizona Cardinals wouldn't have taken him with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft if he was. He's a big, physical target who came on strong after a very quiet start to his rookie season.

The splits tell the story of Floyd's progression: In his first seven games, Floyd managed just eight catches for 91 yards and one touchdown. In his final nine games, Floyd had 37 catches for 471 yards and one score. There's reason to believe Floyd is ready to emerge as a legitimate counterpart to Larry Fitzgerald.

Floyd has the ability to be an excellent yards-after-catch performer. We got a glimpse of this in Arizona's Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

Later in the same drive, Floyd put six on the board by showcasing the ability to use his size and strength to win one-on-one battles. Chris Culliver never had a chance.

Floyd has all the tools to become the kind of secondary threat the Cardinals haven't enjoyed since Anquan Boldin left town.

Obstacles

There's no denying that Carson Palmer is a substantial upgrade over what the Cardinals attempted to work with at quarterback last season. Still, we're not ready to predict a Kurt Warner-like career renaissance for Palmer, who has been a mediocre player for the past half-decade.

Floyd also has to secure his spot in the starting lineup. Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts lined up in Arizona's two-wideout sets in 2012, and Roberts is coming off his most productive season. Floyd was running with the first team in offseason workouts, but the starting job will likely come down to a camp battle.

The final obstacle comes down to preparation. Floyd struggled early in his rookie season with drops as well as issues running routes and lining up in the correct spot. That didn't fly under Ken Whisenhunt, and it won't work for Bruce Arians, who has pointed out to reporters that Floyd must get better fundamentally.

2013 expectations

The Cardinals' official website reported this month that Floyd was targeted more than any receiver in minicamp -- including Fitzgerald. It certainly appears that Arians has big plans for Floyd in his aggressive vertical attack. We'd be very surprised if Floyd doesn't move past Roberts on the Cardinals' depth chart.

"I am really happy with him," Arians told the Cardinals' team site. "He's very serious about what he does. He doesn't like to make mistakes. He's totally bought in and if he just continues to improve his fundamentals he's another guy who can have a breakout year."

Floyd isn't ready to eclipse Fitzgerald as Arizona's top receiver, but the stars are aligned for a big leap in production.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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