The tight end position has been a position of weakness is past years. Whether it was the oft injured Todd Heap, Rob Housler with his drops, or last year when Troy Niklas was injured, and John Carlson was inconsistent.
Jake Ballard showed hope in 2013, and the hope carried over into 2014. He dropped a bombshell on the fans however, announcing his early retirement, citing the health of his knee. They entered the season with Rob Housler, John Carlson, Troy Niklas, and Darren Fells. Niklas went down after only appearing in seven games. Housler was his usual self, non-existent. He recorded a mere nine grabs in 15 games. Carlson was the teams go to guy for much of the year.
Carlson only recorded one touchdown, but got 33 passes for 350 yards. Fells, while on the 53 man roster, did not get to see much of the field until the final three games of the season. He had six, 26, and 39 yards in each of the final three games, and recorded only one catch for one yard, but also a touchdown in the playoff game against Carolina.
The surprise retirement of John Carlson earlier this offseason, leaves the team with an unknown at the position. Fells has the most experience out of the group, which is cause for concern since he has only played one season.
So without further ado, lets examine the players that are heading into training camp with the Cardinals.
Bolser was a seventh round pick for the Washington Redskins in 2014. He did not impress Redskins officials in camps last season, and was placed on the practice squad. According to ESPN's John Keim, Bolser is a catch first tight end, who dropped too many passes in training camp and OTA's, and offered little as a blocker, thus his practice squad designation. Bolser left Indiana as the all-time leader in catches, yards and touchdowns, recording 117, 1337, and 15 respectively. He's likely here as just a camp body, if the next man on this list can live up to our expectations.
Mr. Irrelevant of the 2015 NFL Draft, has drawn rave reviews from analysts from Bleacher Report, to NFL.com His ability to be used as a fullback or as a tight end is the versatility that Bruce Arians loves. He fits the Arians mold as well, blocking first and catching second. He's no lock to make the roster, (See 2013 DC Jefferson), but there's hope for him.
The most experienced tight end on the roster is nearing 30. He turned 29 in April, and despite showing promise in the latter half of 2014, likely won't be the #1 tight end if Troy Niklas remains healthy. The ex-basketball player is likely a lock for the roster, what position is still up in the air.
My surprise to make the roster ever since he was signed, Momah has bounced around positions in the NFL. After trying out as a tight end at the inaugural Veterans Combine, the Cardinals signed him, and he's impressed the coaching staff. At 6'7, he and Fells could be dangerous in the red zone.
Last years second round pick, fought injuries from camp through the season, before ultimately being put on IR. He showed some promise in his limited time. He's reportedly fully healthy and is catching up to where he should be in his career. Niklas is likely the teams starter for 2015.
The UDFA out of Missouri State is likely nothing more than a camp body. He had 29 catches, 361 yards, and 10 scores in two seasons with the Missouri State Bears.
We're nearing the end of the offensive side of the roster. We will tackle the Tackles as well as the Guards/Centers later this week.