The Arizona Cardinals have very little experience at the tight end position behind incumbent starter Jermaine Gresham.
Entering his ninth season, Gresham could be sidelined until the season opener as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles that he suffered in the 2017 season finale. Even so, he remains the best all-around tight end on the team. He reunites with Sam Bradford, who he played with when they were teammates as Oklahoma Sooners.
Another tight end on the roster is Ricky Seals-Jones, who came into the spotlight after catching two touchdown passes in week 11 before fading down the stretch. The 6’5’’, 243-pound tight end has tremendous athletic ability and continues to improve as a blocker, which was praised by Steve Wilks. Entering his second season with only 12 catches in his undrafted rookie campaign, he still has a lot to prove. He is expected to have significant playing time and should be one of Bradford’s favorite red zone targets in the upcoming season.
After Gresham and limited experience of Seals-Jones, the rest of the tight ends on the roster have not caught a single regular season pass in their careers. Gabe Holmes entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent signee with the Raiders in 2015. He saw his first regular season action last season, after being signed from the Cardinals’ practice squad, but was only active for two games. Steve Wilks praised him for his willingness to block as well.
Beau Sandland and Bryce Williams have ties with Steve Wilks back to their Carolina days. Sandland was the Panthers’ 2016 seventh round pick. He was on the Panthers and Packers practice squad before signing with the Cardinals. Williams was waived by the Panthers in the 2017 offseason. Both tight ends have no regular season experience.
Andrew Vollert was ranked the fourth best undrafted free agent tight end by Gil Brandt of 2018. He has good size at 6’5’’, 245-pounds and speed, running a 4.6 40 at his Pro Day. After transferring from San Jose State, he caught 123 passes 1,613 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons at Weber State. Besides his athletic ability, he isn’t particularly strong. Although he had an impressive college resume, he will have to show coaches that he can catch in the NFL, in addition to being a blocker. Alec Bloom is an undrafted free agent out of University of Connecticut but had very little productivity at the college level.
The lack of experience at the tight end position is concerning. There is no timetable for when Gresham will return and even when he does, he will have to prove that he can stay on the field. There are still a lot of unknowns about Ricky Seals-Jones, despite the many expectations for him to be a breakout player. The rest of the group have not caught a single regular season pass. The only sure thing I see is the fact that they all have the ideal size for this position. It would not be surprising to see Steve Keim add a veteran tight end to the roster before the start of training camp.
Who would you like to see the Cardinals add to the tight end position?
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