Cardinals Prospect Q&A: Versatile H-back

The Cardinals have plenty of tight ends on the roster but could be tempted by a late-round prospect in the draft. GM Rod Graves might look to add an underneath target to complement the Cardinals talented group of wide receivers. Brad Wilbricht caught up with a sleeper prospect with uncanny size in this exclusive.

Maryland TE Joey Haynos is one of the most dependable receiving targets in this year's draft. Haynos (6'8", 262 pounds) features a rare combination of athleticism and size. He's a versatile athlete who turned down multiple scholarship offers to play college basketball.

Haynos displays a tremendous work ethic and should continue to add bulk. He added nearly 50 pounds to his frame in the Terrapin's weight-training program. Haynos originally enrolled as a walk-on before earning a scholarship after his freshman season.

During his first two seasons at Maryland, Haynos was primarily used in blocking situations, catching only one pass for three yards. However, Haynos enjoyed a breakout junior season and became a go-to target in the Terrapin's offense. He wrapped up his senior season in impressive fashion, grabbing 22 balls in his final six games.

Haynos completed his college career with 68 catches, 687 yards and four touchdowns.

Haynos utilizes his size to shield opposing defenders and routinely catches balls in traffic. He excels on third down and is a reliable target in key situations. Of his 68 career receptions at Maryland, 39 resulted in first downs. Haynos also proved his big-play ability by catching ten passes in excess of 20 yards.

Haynos is a fluid route-runner who plays with good body control. He boasts an outstanding burst of speed, allowing him to separate from defenders off the line of scrimmage. He's an instinctive receiver with the ability to find openings in coverage.

In addition to his receiving abilities, Haynos is solid at the point of attack and can sustain blocks downfield. He demonstrated his physical nature at Maryland, making 119 knockdown blocks and 11 touchdown-resulting blocks during his final two seasons.

Haynos performed well at the Combine and continued to build momentum at his Pro Day. He was determined to prove his athleticism and speed, which is rare for a player of his stature.

"I wanted to prove that I was faster than I showed at the Combine," he said. "I've never been good at running 40's, but I feel I play faster on the field. I also wanted to prove that I'm a better athlete."

Although the draft process is slowing down, Haynos' preparations have been frantic in recent months. He participated at the Hula Bowl and the Combine, where he met with numerous NFL coaches and scouts.

"It was hectic, but it's wound down a lot," he said. "It's stressful now just waiting to see if you'll get drafted."

The Cardinals possess a roster full of tight ends, but none exhibit Haynos' athleticism and size. Leonard Pope is currently slotted as the starter, with Ben Patrick and Jerame Tuman the top backups.

Haynos would supply the Cardinals with a sure-handed possession receiver and a dependable blocker. He's been compared to Cincinnati Bengals TE Ben Utecht, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. Haynos could be used in a similar fashion, as a complementary tight end who specializes in third-down situations.

If Haynos is available late in the draft, he could be a very attractive prospect for GM Rod Graves. His potential and versatility would be a welcome addition to the Cardinals current stable of electrifying pass-catchers.

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