As the Arizona Cardinals camp has been underway for over a week now, many of the same faces that bring big cheers along with some ooo’s and ahhh’s remain the same. Those include Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and before getting hurt, Michael Floyd.
But there have been some others that are bringing out these reactions consistently that many may not have expected.
One is Cardinals rookie out of the University of Alabama-Bermingham, wide receiver J.J. Nelson. The blazing fast receiver has impressed not just with his speed but also his route running as well as his catching ability which has brought some of those ooo’s and ahhh’s which is something that Nelson says gives him a little of an extra pep in his step when he hears it from the fans.
“It does a little bit,” Nelson said. “I just try to come out and have fun, compete, do my job and cut down on mental errors and everything. I have to keep it up. At camp you always have to stay consistent.”
— #CardsCamp (@AZCardinals) August 5, 2015
Nelson’s story is very similar to the Cardinals breakout rookie from last season, John Brown. Both wide receivers who come from smaller schools who aren’t well known, may not have great size, but have the speed to get past defenses that head coach Bruce Arians covets in his offense. Though there are seasoned vets like Fitzgerald and Floyd playing the same position, Nelson is more so sticking next to John Brown.
“Right now John Brown is my roommate so I am trying to pick his brain as much as I can, watch him, see how he comes out and practices, see how he takes care of everybody,” Nelson explained. “Last year he had a great rookie season so I am trying to latch on to that.”
Brown last season had 48 catches for just under 700 yards and five touchdowns making big play after big play for the Cardinals. With Nelson latching on to Brown like he says, it is safe to say that Nelson thinks about what Brown accomplished which could be his route to have similar success.
“Yes sir, all the time,” he said with a smile. “I’ve been watching him everyday and I am just trying to be consistent so hopefully everything will go pretty good.”
The Cardinals are stacked at receiver despite Floyd being out after having surgery on his hand. They still have the aforementioned Fitzgerald and Brown as well as Jaron Brown and Britt Golden who have also shown flashes both last season and during camp. But Nelson has been the one outside of the big names who has stood out and if he keeps up with that consistency that he makes note of, he could be on his way to playing a big role in the Cardinals offense as well as on special teams.