Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Starter: Troy Niklas*
Backup: John Carlson
Rookie Troy Niklas could end up as the starting tight end about as quickly as it takes the 6’7”, 270-pound brick wall to put on shoulder pads. He is a very good blocker with through-the-roof upside as a receiver, especially in the red zone early.
Arizona signed John Carlson to a two-year, $4.65 million contract this offseason, and, if healthy, he is a solid receiving tight end. He may never start full time in a Cardinals uniform because of Niklas, but he is a good red-zone option as well because of his imposing size (6’5”, 248 lbs).
The days of waiting for Rob Housler to show up and be a receiving threat in the offense may not officially be over, but his days could be numbered. With the release of Williams on Monday, that leaves just three members of the 2011 draft class still with the team—the others being Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson.