In 2010, the Arizona Cardinals tight ends were Ben Patrick and Stephen Spach -- not two household names that would strike fear and respect into the hearts of Cardinal opponents, nor probably the respect of the Arizona coaching staff. Then head coach Ken Whisenhunt was more than likely thinking of getting a more athletic, faster tight end that could stretch the field, a la the one he had in his offensive system in Pittsburgh, Heath Miller.
Enter Rob Housler: the fifth pick in the third round from Florida Atlantic, the 6-5 248 TE from the Sunbelt Conference was perceived as having high-end potential and size.
Have things changed three seasons later?
What We Knew Then
Coming out of college, the most things scouts saw were the obvious physical variables -- the size, speed (4.52 40) and vertical (37 inches). Most liked his length and football acumen. Ourlads scouting service compared him to a tight end in a flex offense with running good routes and catching with body control.
Sports Illustrated liked his large frame and the way he boxed out defenders, with good hand-eye coordination.
NFL.com praised his quick release off the line of scrimmage and fearless attitude going across the middle.
But all three sites put negatives/ weaknesses on Housler for his blocking. While not a necessity in new head coach Bruce Arians' offense, some will likely be required to throw defenses a curveball. Other concerns were putting on lower body strength and putting polish on the raw product.
What We Know Now
Housler was drafted pretty much where expected and had a quiet rookie season. Coupled with Mike Miller's conservative offense, the look to veteran Todd Heap and Whiz's reluctance to play rookies left Housler with paltry 2011 numbers: 12 games with 2 started - 12 catches for 133 yards.
2012 was better: 15 games with 9 started - 45 receptions (good for third on the team) for 417 yards. He missed last part of season after being placed on IR with shoulder injury.
We also know Arians wanted him as a third receiver/TE when he was offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and that he fits Bruce's offensive scheme. Many people think he will be the team's "breakout" player for this season.
However, the fact is he is yet to catch a touchdown pass and his career YPG is an uninspiring 9.6.
Does that infer the system he was in or projected futility? Both? Neither?