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Flying with Floyd
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Twenty-four men reached 1,000 receiving yards in 2013; Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald was not one of them.

Teammate Michael Floyd was.

Floyd had 577 receiving yards in his final seven games to quietly finish his second pro season with 1,041 yards.

He was a big-play maven, gaining 20-plus yards on 17 of his 65 catches with a long gain of 91 yards.

Floyd averaged 16 yards per catch, 10th-highest in the NFL and sixth-highest among players with at least 50 receptions.

Fitzgerald averaged 11.6 yards per catch and finished with 954 receiving yards in 2013, one year after averaging 11.2 yards per catch and recording 798 receiving yards.

The 30-year-old had an excuse in 2012 -- Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley took most of Arizona's snaps that year -- but Carson Palmer brought some respectability to the desert last season.

Even though Fitzgerald played all 16 games and saw 24 more targets than Floyd, Floyd had just one fewer first down and six more gains of at least 20 yards than Fitzgerald.

The only area in which Fitzgerald really bested Floyd was red-zone production. The veteran had six touchdowns inside the opponent's 20-yard line, while Floyd had two. Fitzgerald finished with 10 touchdowns to Floyd's five on the year.

But with Rashard Mendenhall, who scored all eight of his touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line, becoming a 26-year-old retiree and 5-foot-9, 199- pound Andre Ellington expected to be his replacement, I think the Cardinals are going to be throwing the ball more often in the red zone this season. Floyd's touchdown total should rise to seven or eight as a result.

Floyd appears to be following the same career trajectory as Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant, who went in the first round one year before Floyd. Bryant increased his yardage from 561 to 928 to 1,382 in his first three years and his touchdown total went from six to nine to 12 in that span.

With Fitzgerald around, Floyd doesn't have the same touchdown potential as Bryant did in 2012, but the yardage increase between years two and three could be similar.

In fantasyfootballcalculator.com mock drafts, two rounds separate the average draft positions (ADPs) of Fitzgerald (42.1 ADP) and Floyd (66.1).

There wasn't nearly that wide of a gap in production between them last year -- Fitzgerald had 146 fantasy points and Floyd had 128 -- and this season Floyd should gain even more ground on his future Hall of Fame teammate.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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