Why the Arizona Cardinals tight ends will be exciting in 2023

Since the Arizona Cardinals have a second-year player poised to make a potential leap at tight end, that alone makes it an exciting group.

Jan 1, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates with
Jan 1, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates with / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Trey McBride became a big part of the Arizona Cardinals offense during the second half of the season and ended the year with 29 catches on 39 targets, good for a 74.4% catch percentage, for 265 yards, and a touchdown. And his production in 2022, while not impressive by any means, could easily foreshadow a leap in production for the 2023 season and beyond. 

Throughout their history, the Cardinals have rarely seen star-studded numbers at tight end, but with a career backup in Colt McCoy or a rookie in Clayton Tune pegged in as the likely starters while Kyler Murray works his way back, McBride could be a security blanket if neither proves capable of throwing the deep ball. Therefore, the possibilities surrounding McBride alone could make this group fun to watch. 

Arizona Cardinals tight ends could be among NFL’s most exciting

If Zach Ertz returns to form after missing the final seven games of the season, then the passing game could go through the tight ends, meaning Ertz and McBride could enjoy one season as a dynamic duo. This could make them especially fun to watch in the red zone, where the likes of McCoy, Tune, and later, Murray, will have a pair of big targets inside the 20-yard-line. 

In the past, we at Raising Zona talked extensively about how good of a duo Ertz and McBride could be. One article discussed the correlation between new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and the way the Cleveland Browns utilized tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant in what also happened to be a run-first offense that Petzing was helping run as the quarterbacks coach. 

Given what Petzing picked up in Cleveland, the tight ends could be utilized in a similar fashion in the desert, and with the potential McBride has shown along with Ertz’s track record, they could be well on their way to putting up some big numbers in 2023. And even if no other tight end on the roster proves capable of being a viable asset, it shouldn’t matter as long as McBride and Ertz stay healthy. 

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)