Troy Wayrynen/USA Today Sports

Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft preview: Tight end

With five tight ends already on the roster, Arizona can look at taking the year off from drafting a tight end.

Position: Tight End

Draft Need: Low Priority

The Skinny: Tight ends are the tweeners that make an offense go, but in Arizona's case, its offense is already going. 

Tight ends are intended to be physical mismatches for defenses, specifically for linebackers and nickel corners, and the Cardinals already have a number of players on their roster who fit that bill.

Jermaine Gresham, Darren Fells and Troy Niklas are back with the team this season, and though the trio's overall production wasn't eye-popping last year, the team appears content with the core group moving forward. 

Aside from the top three returners, Arizona has Ifeanyi Momah and Gerald Christian on the roster, a pair of players who might be long-term projects but could develop over time. 

With a logjam at tight end, the Cardinals do not have a demonstrated need to use one of their draft picks on a player at that position. If general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians do feel the need to pursue a tight end, it could hint that management is leaning toward cutting a player (potentially Gresham) in order to save salary cap space. 

However, Arizona's roster composition sets the team up well for the future at tight end, which barring any surprises, affords the Cardinals at least one more season before they need to become concerned about adding a piece to this unit. 

Recent Draft History

One of the reasons Arizona is well-stocked at tight end is because Keim has made depth at the position one of his main priorities as general manager. Aside from adding players like Fells and Momah in free agency, the Cardinals' general manager has selected one tight end in each of his first three drafts. 

Though 2013 seventh round draft pick D.C. Jefferson and 2015 seventh round draft pick Gerald Christian were long shots to have a considerable impact in the Cardinals' organization, Christian is still with the team and was praised for his toughness in fall camp last year.

The most high-profile selection Keim has made at the position is that of Niklas, a second round pick out of Notre Dame in 2014. Niklas possessed a ton of potential coming out of college, but as we've mentioned, injuries have stood in the way of production.

If Niklas can turn the corner this season, it would reflect well on management's ability to evaluate tight ends and it would also give the Cardinals another dependable piece moving forward if the team elects to let Gresham walk when his contract expires next season. 


CardinalsSource Top Stories