One position of concern for the Arizona Cardinals this offseason was the tight end position. They have addressed in terms of quantity. Last season the tight ends on the roster were Rob Housler, Jim Dray, Jeff King, Kory Sperry, Jake Ballard and Darren Fells (he was on the practice squad).
Gone are Dray, Sperry and King.
They brought back Ballard, but here are the players the team brought in --John Carlson, Andre Hardy and Brett Brackett.
Carlson was their main signing at the position in free agency, and the team is high on him, despite his injury concerns.
In fact, according to an interview GM Steve Keim gave on PFT Live, they felt that he was a better fit than Jimmy Graham, who is considered perhaps the best tight end in the league.
Mike Florio asked Keim if pursuing Graham, who is franchised by the Saints, would be worth it, even if the cost to do so would be be two first round picks.
"I think you always look at all the opportunities that are out there, but at the same time you have to figure out what fits your offense the best," Keim responded. "We felt that picking up John Carlson, who is a guy who could block and catch, was the best fit. "
This is an interesting thing. While it is understandable that head coach Bruce Arians would want a versatile tight end -- one who can block and catch, as he uses the tight end position as a way to keep the defenses on their toes and a way to mask the pass/run potential of a play.
The interesting thing is, though, that Keim mentions that Carlson can block.
Carlson's reputation is one of not being that good at blocking. It was a knock on him coming out of college and last season his Pro Football Focus grade in run blocking was -3.2.
Now, in his defense, Graham was graded a -7.5 in run blocking, so Carlson was better on 2013.
Do you believe Keim with his comment of "best fit," or was the combination of asking price on a contract and the fact that the team would have to give up multiple draft picks the reason why they went with Carlson instead of Graham?
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