The Arizona Cardinals have had issues with quarterback and with offensive linemen. This has been well documented. They’ve also had a lot of inconsistency from the tight end position as well. With their off-season acquisitions, that may be ending in 2014. Here is a current look at the tight ends on the Cards roster.
Jake Ballard – Here is a guy who got a pretty bad rap with injuries. The Cards came calling in 2013 for some assistance and he gave little, what little the Cards offense tried to move through the tight end position in 2013. I think he is a great compliment to the offense. He has great hands and I look for a huge contribution from him in 2014.
John Carlson – Cards quarterback Carson Palmer went on record a couple of weeks ago to say how much he enjoys having Carlson on the team. He said he’s already picked up the system and feel real comfortable throwing to him. Carlson has some speed and great hands. He should be the number one end coming into camp.
Darren Fells – Not much of a chance to make this roster given the other talent around but still should provide some spark when given the chance in the preseason. He’s tall but he’s not the player Carlson or Ballard are.
Andre Hardy – Unfortunately for Hardy is is not much more than a body at camp. Now, he won’t be treated that way and he’ll work hard to break the roster but it just won’t happen here.
Rob Housler – We’ve been waiting for four years to watch this guy flourish. It hasn’t happened. A really nice guy who has a lot of potential. Unfortunately for one reason or another, it just hasn’t clicked with him. I don’t completely rule him out of making this team in 2014 but it’s going to be tough and I imagine he’ll be on a short leash.
Troy Niklas – He got hurt last week but should be ready for training camp, which is great news. Coming out of Notre Dame, the Cards are high on him. He probably comes into the season as the third tight end (assuming the Cards move Housler).
Of course injury can chance any of this outlook but I see Carlson, Ballard, and Niklas being the top three tight ends. They will have to block in Cards head coach Bruce Arians’ system. Hopefully this position can solidify itself for years to come, especially with Niklas the rookie who could be around for a long time to come.