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Rookie Tight End Troy Niklas Should Help Arizona Cardinals’ Offensive Attack This Season

July 17th, 2014 at 6:28 AM
By Steve Smith

Troy Niklas is considered to be the best blocking tight end among NFL rookies.

'Troy Niklas' photo (c) 2014, Fire Twink - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Arizona Cardinals drafted the University of Notre Dame product in the second round of this year's NFL Draft in May.

Make no mistake though, Niklas can catch the ball very effectively as well.

He's currently recovering from a broken hand but will hopefully be ready for the start of training camp next week.

Rob Housler is currently number one on the tight end depth chart but he will certainly have some stiff competition now for the starting TE spot. John Carlson has good hands and Jake Ballard is talented as well. Housler's ranking is rather shaky presently.

Let's take a look at Niklas' updated scouting profile via cbssports.com:

STRENGTHS: Prototypical build for today's matchup nightmare at tight end. Excellent height, long arms and a well-built frame. Experience on the defensive side of the ball is shown with his physical nature on the field. Seems to enjoy blocking, rocking opponents with an impressive initial punch and latching on to control throughout the play. Keeps his legs driving through contact. Uses his height and strength to get open against tight coverage, consistently winning the physical battle with opponents to create space. Good leaping ability, flashing the ability to extend and pluck. Used in a variety of roles for the Irish, including as an inline blocker from both sides, split out wide and even used as an occasional H-back or as a third tackle in pass protection. Secures the football quickly and turns aggressively upfield, dragging would-be tacklers along the way. Good bloodlines. Nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. Real solid potential.

WEAKNESSES: Developing route-runner. Rounds off, rather than explodes out of his breaks, allowing defenders to remain closer than they should. Relies on pushing off from defenders too often to get open and wasn't asked to run the complete route tree, typically running just quick curls, drags and posts down the seam. Possesses sneaky but not elite top-end speed to take the top off the defense and does not possess lateral agility to make defenders miss. A bit of a bull in a china closet.

COMPARES TO: Anthony Fasano, Kansas City Chiefs – Like another former Golden Domer, Niklas isn't going to wow you with his agility or straight-line speed. In just two seasons at the position he is already among the classes' most reliable blockers and is an effective underneath target. With further development, Niklas could ultimately emerge as a much more productive NFL player than Fasano, a solid starter in his own right.

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