Arizona Cardinals: Top Five Tight Ends in History
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals have not had a lot of luck with tight ends since moving to Arizona in 1988
The tight end position is one the Arizona/Phoenix Cardinals have spent 27 years trying to perfect since moving to Arizona. They’ve had a couple of good ones but for the most part the position has not produced consistently like other teams. Their best one actually ended up one of the best in Dallas Cowboys history.
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I looked at the list of tight ends that have come through Arizona from 1988 up until 2014. It is not an impressive list. Quite honestly I had a hard time finding five guys to put on this list. The point though is to find the top five guys in the history at each position leading up to the 2015 draft.
1. Jay Novacek
The then St. Louis Cardinals drafted Novacek in the 1985 NFL Draft. He was with the Cardinals until 1989. He was a backup tight end both seasons he was in the Valley of the Sun. He only started one game in 1988 and one in 1989 but he still produced decent numbers.
He caught 38 passes for 569 yards in 1988. He scored four touchdowns. That was the year the Cardinals offense put points on the board and started 7-4 and in a tie for first in the NFC East before losing their last five games.
His production dropped in 1989, catching just 23 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown. He moved on to the Cowboys where he became a starter and was an all-pro tight end.
Best season as a Cardinal: 1988 was clearly the best of his four seasons with the organization, including the two in Arizona.
Best game as a Cardinal: September 18, 1988 Novacek caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in a 30-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2. Robert Awalt
Awalt was another tight end who came to the organization before they moved to Arizona. Awalt was drafted in 1987. He started 15 of 16 games in both 1988 and 1989 for the Cardinals.
As a starter in front of Novacek those two seasons though he actually had less production in 1988 and just slightly more in 1989. Awalt caught 39 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns in 1988. That was one more reception but 115 yards fewer than Novacek. In 1989 he caught 33 passes for 360 yards and no touchdowns. He moved on to Dallas with Novacek where he became the backup.
Best season as a Cardinal: 1988 with the 39 receptions for 454 yards and four touchdowns. He actually had a better season in his rookie year of 1987 but for these purposes I’m only counting seasons in Arizona.
Best game as a Cardinal: On November 12, 1989 he caught six passes for 105 yards against the Cowboys in a 24-20 victory.
3. Freddie Jones
Jones played three seasons for the Arizona Cardinals in 2002-2004. He spent his first five seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
Jones started 47 of the 48 games he played in for the Cardinals. He caught 144 passes for 1,301 yards and six touchdowns in his three seasons in Arizona. The thing with Jones was he never had that really huge game but he was consistently involved in the offense.
Best season as a Cardinal: In 2003 he had 55 receptions for 517 yards and three touchdowns.
Best game as a Cardinal: On September 7, 2003 Jones had six receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in a 42-24 loss to the Detroit Lions.