Friday, May 9, 2014
Cardinals pick Troy Niklas in 2nd
By Josh Weinfuss
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The pick:Troy Niklas, tight end, Notre Dame.
My take: The Arizona Cardinals addressed another need by going with Niklas, who is the type of tight end coach Bruce Arians covets. He's considered the best blocking tight end in the class and has graded high in pass protection, two areas Arizona struggled with last season. Niklas, who's 6 feet 6, 270 pounds, is a better fit for Arians' two-tight end set than last year's options. He's also a long-term answer and solidifies an offense that didn't get much out of their tight ends in 2013. Niklas can polish his receiving skills but possesses enough ability to make a catch and get a few yards. It's unlikely, with the receiving options Arizona has out wide, that Arians will ask Niklas to do more than block and run short routes. But now Arizona has a stable of big, blocking tight ends that is sure to make Arians' offense run smoother than it did last year.
Housler's future at stake: Niklas' addition gives Arizona seven tight ends, which is about three or four more than they'll have when they start the season. But who'll make the roster? Bringing on a blocking tight end who's capable of running short routes may be the final straw for Rob Housler. He was inherited by Arians and after failing to live up to expectations, Housler finished the year struggling. Housler is more of a receiving tight end, cut from the same basketball-player mold that has become the trend throughout the NFL. But that's not what Arians prefers. Housler did not conform to the blocking tight end Arizona needed and it might cost him his job.
What's next: The Cardinals have two picks in the third round and can use them to target an offensive lineman, linebacker or defensive lineman.