It’s No Shocker he could be the Best Blocker

  • Jason Mulkey
Arizona Cardinals Rookie Minicamp

Niklas watches on the sidelines during rookie minicamp Credit: Norm Hall


It’s obvious the Arizona Cardinals drafted an unknown entity when the selected Troy Niklas, the tight end out of Notre Dame, with their second round selection (52nd overall).

Niklas only accounted for 37 receptions for 573 yards and 6 touchdowns total in his college career, thus after converting from the defensive side of the ball to the tight end position.

He certainly fits the role with his 6-foot-6 and 270-pound frame.

“Interesting kid. If you want to talk about body beautiful in today’s NFL, I’d put him in the top 10,” NFL Network analyst and Notre Dame color commentator Mike Mayock told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday. “If you just see him on the hook you go, ‘Holy crap.’

“This kid is big, he’s put together, he’s athletic.”

The Cardinals had to keep him sidelined during off-season workouts unfortunately due to off-season hernia surgery the tight end had in the first part of the summer, and then in an even more unfortunate turn of events, Niklas broke his hand  according to Adam Green of Arizona Sports just as he was able to start getting his feet wet so to speak.

“It’s a shame that Troy’s missed all this time and then with the hand, hopefully he’s ready the first day (of training camp),” Arians said after the team’s final minicamp Thursday. “But he should be by the time we put the pads on and he can show what he can do.

“We really like what we saw in the day or two that he practiced.”

What is fortunate for both Niklas and the Cardinals,  is that the rookies injury issues are not the type that will linger on throughout his rookie campaign. And in the short term that it should take to recover from them, he’ll be good to go. In fact, he should be back at the start of training camp.

Another silver lining to this story is the depth at the tight end position for the Cardinals, so it is not like Niklas’s absence is a setback of any sort.

Despite the time Niklas has missed thus far isn’t even a major issue, as many people around the league are continuing to rave about the 21-year-olds potential in the NFL.

“If he wants to be, if he’s willing to be, if he’s willing to commit himself to become a great blocker, he should be the best blocking tight end in the NFL in two to three years,” Mayock said. “Because he’s so big, he’s so strong and he’s so athletic.”

It is without question this is the reason the Cardinals were intrigued to draft the tight end Niklas.  After all, head coach Bruce Arians likes to use multiple tight end sets in his offense. The team was a bit short handed at the position last season, and was forced to use offensive linemen to compensate for certain packages they wanted to run. Coach Arians is smart enough to know that it is an easy way for other teams to latch on to what the Cardinals intentions are.

Having someone like Niklas would give the offense an extra dimension.

“He’s a more than competent short and intermediate receiver with really good hands,” Mayock added. “Can run you over. Really good athlete; he’s a better athlete than people think.

“A little bit of a Heath Miller from Pittsburgh, who obviously Bruce Arians would know very well, but a guy I think can be a better blocker than Heath.”

All quotes according to Adam Green of Arizona Sports.

Phoenix Sports-King Co Lead Columnist Jason Mulkey @_JayBird79

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