Nelson thrived under the eye of coach Bruce Arians between 2015 and 2017, averaging 18.6 yards per catch and 8.5 yards per target. As a big-play threat, five of his 11 career touchdowns have gone for 30-plus yards. He experienced a downswing last year with two offensive coordinators -- seven catches (on 19 targets) for 64 yards -- on a Steve Wilks-directed coaching staff. Joining a Raiders offense with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams in tow, Nelson is a good bet to experience a return to the form of his first three pro seasons.
Without Bruce Arians on the sideline, Nelson rarely was used under the new coaching staff, hauling in seven of his 19 targets for 64 yards in 14 games. With his rookie contract coming to an end, he'll enter the offseason as a free agent. Whether or not he returns to Arizona remains to be seen, but he may have to seek out a prove-it deal with any organization that explores what the burner has at this point in his career.
Nelson was one of three Cardinals to deal with an illness last week, but the wide receiver also experienced the birth of a child and received Week 16 off. With his health intact and personal time over, he's back and available to the receiving corps. Unfortunately, Nelson hasn't been in the good graces of the new coaching staff, earning just 19 targets in 14 appearances this season.
In a week in which he had a bout with food poisoning and experienced the birth of a child, Nelson will miss his first game since the 2016 season. With Nelson sidelined, the Cardinals will trot out Larry Fitzgerald, Trent Sherfield, Chad Williams and Jalen Tolliver at wide receiver.
Nelson (illness) is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Rams, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports.
Nelson did not practice Wednesday and Thursday due to an illness, but was a limited participant Friday. If the depth wideout is able to suit up versus the Rams, he'll serve as the Cardinals' No. 4 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald, Trent Sherfield and Chad Williams.
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