An interesting battle for the starting tight end spot will be taking place this summer at Arizona Cardinals training camp
For some time now, the tight ends have been an afterthought in the offense of the Arizona Cardinals. Whether it’s been because of scheme or just a lack of talent, the position has rarely been featured in the squad’s scoring attack. Could things change in that regard now that offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury has come to town?
There are six tight ends currently on the Cards’ roster who are hoping that the new head coach will include them in his play-calling. Four out of that group were added over the past few months. But while Arizona is well-stocked at the spot, a starter for the position has yet to be determined.
A competition at this summer’s training camp will most likely decide who the first-string tight end will be. The favorite to prevail in that contest, veteran Charles Clay, was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals back in February. The 30-year old, who has played for both the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, has tallied 339 receptions for 3,631 yards and 23 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons.
Another free agent acquisition, former Baltimore Raven Maxx Williams, was inked to a one-year deal last month. The former University of Minnesota product has hauled in 63 passes for 497 yards and three scores in 42 pro appearances (21 starts). Ironically, a trade with the Cards allowed the Ravens to move up and select Williams during the second round of the 2015 draft.
Ricky Seals-Jones, a former undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, is entering his third year with the Cardinals. The 24-year old has shown explosiveness at times, but management is looking for more production out of the player. Seals-Jones has registered 46 catches for 544 yards and four touchdowns during his time in the desert.
A fourth Arizona tight end, Caleb Wilson, was a seventh-round choice of the organization back in April. The 22-year old racked up 114 receptions for 1,675 yards and five scores in three campaigns with the UCLA Bruins. Wilson was 2019’s “Mr. Irrelevant”, an unflattering title given to the last prospect chosen in the draft.
The remaining two candidates, Darrell Daniels and Drew Belcher, are longshots to make the 53-man roster. Daniels has caught just three passes for 26 yards in 23 career professional games (six starts). The 23-year old Belcher is an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Maine.
Perhaps Kingsbury will reverse a trend that has been in play for quite some time now. Major changes have taken place with the club this offseason. Maybe the tight end position will follow suit, and finally become an integral part of the Cards offensive gameplan this coming season.