Christian Kirk is stepping up to become the Cardinals’ No. 2 wide receiver, and he’s drawn a lofty comparison from a teammate.
Long in search of a worthy, consistent second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald, the Arizona Cardinals took Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk in the second round (No. 47 overall) of April’s draft. In a competition with J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams and Brice Butler for spots in the wide receiver pecking order, Kirk has earned first-team practice reps. After tallying four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown in the second preseason game, the rookie seems to be separating himself.
Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks continues to speak highly of Kirk, saying he “really stepped up” after last Friday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints. His 13-yard touchdown catch in the game was a highlight-reel play, but he has also been lauded for his practice showing and Kirk has gotten a greater opportunity as Butler deals with a foot injury.
Preseason optimism/hyperbole in not unique, but Cardinals guard Justin Pugh has taken it to a different level regarding Kirk.
“It reminds me a little bit of another No. 13 I used to play with in New York.”
Pugh is of course referring to Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., one of the best wide receivers in the league. As expected, Kirk isn’t ready to fully embrace the comparison.
Kirk is expected to get some opportunities as punt returner for the Cardinals, though those may be minimized now that he’s in line for a prominent offensive role. But offensive coordinator Mike McCoy should be finding unique ways to get ball into Kirk’s hands, and the rookie hinted at just that.
“We’ll see what Coach dials up. I know he has some special stuff ready to dial up probably in the regular season.”
Kirk has to perform in meaningful games before he can start to be fully anointed as a star. But he has an opportunity in front of him, and as Week 1 gets closer he’s seizing it.