The Arizona Cardinals are brimming with great young talent, so to ask which player has the best chance at becoming a star this season is an unviable task.
You have Patrick Peterson, regarded by many as the best or second-best cornerback in the league (in my view, he is the best, but that is for another article and topic) who, from a fans, peer recognition and contractual standpoint is already a star.
Tyrann Mathieu would have been a great choice, having come off a scintillating rookie season where Pro Football Focus rated him as the second best corner in the league behind the great Darrelle Revis. The 'joker' term that Jon Gruden loves to use for offensive players, described perfectly the type of game Mathieu played, as he excelled as a slot corner, and free safety as well. Unfortunately, a late-season ACL and MCL tear will leave me hard-pressed to see stardom this season, but rest assured, he is surely on his way.
The next, most viable, option that most would agree with is Michael Floyd. Easy decision indeed, but when you look closer at his metrics, you see why aspects such as having a mediocre quarterback (in Carson Palmer) or still fighting for targets with Larry Fitzgerald are irrelevant to Floyd having the breakout season that he WILL have.
In the last two seasons, Floyd is averaging 14.6 yards per catch. That is higher than the likes of his teammate Larry Fitzgerald and budding stars, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant. I don't need to tell you that Fitz is a potential future Hall of Famer and the aforementioned Green and Bryant are top-5 elite talents.
Bruce Arians likes to operate a downfield vertical offense, as evidenced by their 8th ranking in average yards receives at the catch. This provides an indication of how far down the field the quarterback throws the ball, before it is caught by the receiver and omitting yards after the catch. This metric
Floyd is a big receiver (6'2", 220 lbs), whose vertical targets (64) and yards (762), eclipsed Fitzgerald's marks. Furthermore, 34 of those vertical targets ended up as catches, which ranked him 8th in the league (ESPN).
This season, you will see the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish doing much of this. Beating above average corners, such as Byron Maxwell with an outside release. With Floyd, as soon as he is even with the corner, Palmer simply has to throw it up and Floyd's 9 3/8 inch hands will snatch the ball.
Here's another play from last season. On a 3rd and 10 play, Floyd broke two tackles to score a 91-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. Floyd's upper body strength makes him a candidate to improve on his 286 yards after the contact. The latter will add another dimension to a player who is already becoming a premier vertical threat.
Receivers generally peak at the age of 26 years. Floyd's 66 catches, 1054 yards and 5 touchdowns are only scratching the surface. At 24 years old and entering his third season after coming off his first 1000-yard receiving campaign, there is an understanding that the sky's the limit for Floyd and he is ready to take over as the main target in the desert (again, Carson Palmer's average play notwithstanding). This isn't another David Boston in the making, as some might allude to. Floyd's ascencion as a number one receiver is as money as the other Floyd who dodges punches for a living.