Could the signing of unheralded tight end Beau Sandland actually mean something for the Cardinals?
When University of Miami tight end Beau Sandland elected to transfer from a storied ACC program to a middling program in the unheralded Big Sky Conference, one would have assumed his professional opportunities were all but dead. Yet, Sandland’s unusual journey to the Arizona Cardinals is what makes him the player he is today.
With just one season of eligibility, Sandland made his senior season a memorable one at Montana State University. Transferring after a lackluster season at the University of Miami, Sandland compiled over six hundred yards, while catching a team high nine touchdowns, in his lone season for the Bobcats.
At six foot five, 255 pounds, there is no doubting the fact that Sandland has unusual upside for an FCS prospect. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think Sandland could be a difference maker for an Arizona Cardinals team desperately searching for one.
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 draft by the Carolina Panthers, Beau Sandland, like the vast majority of seventh round draft picks, failed to make the active roster of the team that drafted him. While Sandland did remain on the Panthers practice squad for a short time, he ultimately accepted a more substantial deal with the Green Bay Packers.
In Arizona, Sandland finds familiarity with a coaching staff, as well as unusual opportunity. With only one established threat at the tight end position, in proven veteran Jermaine Gresham, the Cardinals’ thin depth at the tight end spot, represents an opportunity unlike any other for Sandland.
Recruited by newly hired head coach Steve Wilks, who served as the Panthers defensive coordinator during Sandland’s brief stint in Carolina. Sandland joins a team with an innovative offensive coordinator, a proven pocket passer, and a hard mouth running style that lends itself well to pass catching tight ends. But does Sandland have what it takes to make it at the NFL level?
While I have not seen a substantial amount of tape from Sandland, what I have seen is encouraging. Throughout Sandland’s junior college career, the oversized tight end dominated smaller defensive backs and easily outran underwhelming linebacking corps. Throughout his one season at the FCS level, Sandland showed the same qualities, proving to be an explosive deep threat and a dependable possession option.
Now Sandland finds himself at a crossroads in his professional career. Will he prove to be dynamic in a Mike McCoy offense that relies on effective tight end play? Will he even make the roster?
One thing is clear: there is no doubting his raw athletic potential.
In Arizona, Sandland is signing with his third NFL team in two years. But this destination comes with unparalleled opportunity.
If Sandland is going to make a name for himself in this league, it will more than likely be in a Cardinals uniform. If not…he may find himself playing in Canada.