What Zach Pascal Brings to Arizona Cardinals

Zach Pascal Cardinals

Zach Pascal recently signed a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. With the move, Monti Ossenfort secures some proven receiver depth as well as a leader who is familiar with Jonathan Gannon and the culture he intends to build. Pascal is now Arizona’s second signing from the Philadelphia Eagles after Kyzir White was acquired earlier in the off-season.

In 2022, Pascal played for the Eagles on a one-year deal. He caught 15 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. His 62.6 PFF grade for the season suggests that his performances were solid but not necessarily impactful. Prior to 2022, Pascal had a four-year stint with the Indianapolis Colts. Coming out of Old Dominion as an undrafted rookie, the 28-year-old has done a good job of finding a home in the NFL as a valuable depth piece.

During his four-year career with the Colts, Pascal had a pair of breakout years that saw him eclipse 600 yards and five touchdowns in both seasons. In both those years (2019 and 2020), Pascal played over 70% of offensive snaps and also contributed on special teams.

What Zach Pascal Signing Means for Arizona Cardinals

Pascal’s signing is not one that has made headlines, and rightly so. So far, Pascal has had a quiet NFL career and is not expected to revolutionize Arizona’s receiving room. His signing does, however, indicate a few things about the new regime.

Cardinals Developing Culture

Pascal is a player who Nick Sirianni spoke highly of. Despite Pascal contributing only in a limited fashion on the field, he was praised by Sirianni for his mentality and character. It is for this reason that Ossenfort and the Cardinals decided he was a good fit. The team is looking to rebuild the culture in the desert, using buzzwords such as ‘leadership’ and ‘accountability’. As a high-character guy, Pascal brings these things in bundles.

It is hard to overlook Pascal’s familiarity with Gannon too. Both spent time together in Indianapolis, and both were together in Philadelphia too. As such, it is clear that they have a relationship and Pascal is familiar with the way that Gannon wants things to be done. He joins the Cardinals as a leader and role model for the younger players that Gannon and Ossenfort will be hoping to acquire and develop alongside the current young crop.

What Zach Pascal Means for the Cardinals Receiver Room

Pascal’s culture familiarity is not the only thing to note. He also fits the mold of the offense that coordinator Drew Petzing will want to implement. With the Cleveland Browns, Petzing helped Deshaun Watson with an offense that was primarily made of heavy personnel. Two tight ends and big receivers were commonplace. Both of these things are opposite to what Arizona currently has. Indeed, Cleveland did not field a receiver shorter than 6’0” last season. Compare that to the Cardinals, who were reliant on the production of Greg Dortch, Rondale Moore, and Marquise Brown. Thus, Pascal provides the blueprint of the kind of receiver that Arizona will be seeking: tall, high character, and a little more physical than what is currently on the roster.

As it stands, Pascal slots in as Arizona’s fourth or fifth-best receiver. Dortch, Moore, and Brown should all be ahead of him. Both Moore and Brown had various injuries last season, however. As such, Pascal is an excellent backup, especially when he has only missed one game in his career so far. His availability makes him a good option behind Moore and Brown.

DeAndre Hopkins is currently the team’s top target. However, he is on the trade block and is expected to be moved this off-season. Some have suggested that Pascal is the replacement for Hopkins. However, given the gulf in talent, this does not seem the case.

While Pascal is buried on Arizona’s depth chart currently, it remains to be seen whether his scheme familiarity and high character will mean that he will be bumped up the pecking order come the regular season. However, as it stands, Pascal is a quality depth signing that lays the foundations for the kind of scheme and culture that Ossenfort and Gannon are looking to develop.

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