Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians loves his blocking tight ends, and this inclination could result in Rob Housler being shipped out of Tempe.
Prior to team OTA’s, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com expressed his belief that Housler “is going to have to work hard to stay up on the (Arizona) depth chart” following the round two selection of Troy Niklas. NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling echoed a related sentiment, including Housler on his list of top-10 summertime trade candidates and stating that “he should be available” if the price is right.
One team’s fringe piece is another team’s treasure trove…
Now for the million dollar question: would 4th year TE Housler be a fit with the Giants? He’s a live body with upside, so the obvious answer would be yes. He possesses elite athleticism and his potential as an impact receiver is prodigious. Standing at 6’5 248, he recorded a top 40-yard dash time of 4.46 and jumped a 37′ vertical.
Housler ran pass routes on 311 snaps in 2013, catching 39 balls (56 targets) for 455 yards. He would be classified as the antithesis of a security blanket, catch and fall tight end. Digging deeper — 11 of his receptions were caught 10+ yards down field, and four were caught 20+ yard from the line of scrimmage. 45% of his yardage (204 yards) was accumulated in YAC.
Blocking aptitude, or lack thereof, has kept him on the sidelines with increasing frequency. Pro Football Focus graded him out at -4.4 in run block situations and he’s not foreign to being “outphysicalled”. However, let’s keep in mind that many of the league’s top receiving tight ends — Julius Thomas (-17.8), Antonio Gates (13.4), Tony Gonzalez (-12.6) and Jimmy Graham (-7.1) — struggle to hold their own at the line. Weighing the risk/reward of a game breaking receiving tight end versus a formidable run blocking TE shouldn’t take very long.
The Cardinals may have failed to optimally utilize the 26-year old’s skill set, but the Giants would be wise to jump at a chance to pencil him into the passing game (depending on the asking price). New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo loves athletic tight ends, and Housler has a ton of untapped potential and usage versatility.