The Arizona Cardinals aren’t known for having good tight ends, but Rob Housler is far from bad.
Housler ran a 4.55 40-yard dash, and he’s a tight end who can catch deep passes with his speed. Carson Palmer is a great deep-ball thrower, and he and Housler will work together well. Arizona has lots of depth at wide receiver, so only one tight end is really needed. However, a good tight end always helps, as we know by the “evolution” of the position and the dominance of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and other star tight ends.
Yahoo Sports’ Shaun Church predicted Housler’s stats, and he predicted that Housler would average 10.9 yards per catch (YPC) with 47 receptions for 512 yards. Housler caught 45 passes for 417 yards in 2012, but he’s bound to do better with Palmer. Palmer likes to throw the ball deep, and it may take a while for speedy deep threat Ryan Swope to get settled in.
Larry Fitzgerald is obviously a great weapon, but he isn’t fast and will always be guarded by the opponent’s best corner. With so many talented wide receivers, defenses may lose track of Housler, who can make a defense pay with his speed. Using three wide receivers and one receiver would benefit the Cardinals, and it would be reasonable to expect Housler to see the field on most plays and start at tight end.
Arizona has two great fits on the outside (Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd) and two great slot receivers (Swope and Andre Roberts), so it will be hard to give time to everyone. The Cardinals will likely use four receivers on obvious passing downs, but they won’t be missing out on anything with Housler on the field. With his speed, he can easily create mismatches with slower linebackers.
In other words, using three receivers and one tight end would be great for the Cardinals.
Coach Bruce Arians has talked about how he has always liked Housler and how he sees Housler playing a big role in the offense. Palmer used Brandon Myers as a security blanket in Oakland, and Housler could play a similar role. Housler is reliable, as he dropped just three passes in 2012. With Palmer to get him the ball on deep and semi-deep routes, Housler should thrive and finally live up to his enormous potential.
And the result will be a much more successful Cardinals’ offense.