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Jaron Brown makes case to be Cardinals' fourth receiver

I think it should. Don’t you?

Just look at what Jaron Brown has done this season for the Arizona Cardinals. He has three catches for 96 yards, and he’s been more reliable than J.J. Nelson. He’s stayed healthier -- this is Nelson’s second injury in his two seasons that has caused him to miss time -- and he’s been more productive on the field. Nelson has one catch this season for 11 yards.

While Nelson has speed that coach Bruce Arians covets and he’s capable of breaking free for a big game -- as he did last season in Week 11 when he had 142 yards, including a 64-yard bomb from quarterback Carson Palmer for a touchdown -- Brown has the been the model of consistency. In three-plus seasons he has 47 catches for 609 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

Where Brown has really developed a reputation is on third down.

Of his 47 career catches, 21 have come on third -- that’s 44.7 percent. Brown’s percentage of receptions on third down is the highest of any regular receiver on the current roster since 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Brown has found a niche in a very deep wide-receivers room that includes a future Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald, a first-round pick in Michael Floyd and a third-round pick in John Brown, who’s emerged from a small-school risk to one of the fastest receivers in the NFL when he’s healthy. But quietly, Jaron Brown has stayed the course and impressed those who have tried to defend him along the way.

“Jaron, he’s special,” Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “He’s very, very special. He gives me all I can handle every camp, every opportunity we have to go up against each other. It really is mind-boggling to see him not go drafted because he’s definitely, in my book, when he was coming out, I don’t know the receivers he was coming out [with], he’s definitely a top-10 receiver at least.”