By Jack Spencer

With NFL training camps scheduled to open later this month, it’s time to start scanning the rosters in order to find that one player that might make the difference for you in fantasy football leagues. In this installment, we take a look at an emerging talent at the tight end position- Arizona Cardinals TE Rob Housler. Housler is entering his third season in the NFL and has yet to score a professional touchdown.

Keep in mind that Housler has been stuck on a Cardinals roster which has had a plethora of issues at the quarterback position. During the offseason, Arizona made a change under center, acquiring veteran signal caller Carson Palmer. While Palmer might be coming towards the end of his career, he is a significant upgrade at the position from what Housler and his teammates have played for in previous seasons.

First-year head coach Bruce Arians has had a successful track record working with quarterbacks and should be able to improve Palmer’s numbers in 2013, especially with WR Larry Fitzgerald on the field. Arizona has 14 receivers on the current roster and only three players have three or more years of NFL experience.

Given the dreadful performance of the Cardinals in the last few seasons, it’s possible that Housler will be undrafted in many leagues this season. Housler is an athletic tight end, not really known for his blocking skills and will likely be poised for a breakout season in 2013. Last year, he was targeted just 68 times, a mere 4.25 times per game, look for that number to increase significantly this season.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com projects Housler as a 60-catch end this season. As Mr. Urban notes, head coach Bruce Arians got 71 receptions last season out of two rookie tight ends while in Indianapolis. I could see Housler becoming a version of this season’s Kyle Rudolph, the Minnesota Vikings end that burst on to the scene last year with 9 touchdowns. Of course Rudolph (53-493-9) is benefited from playing in an offensive system which features RB Adrian Peterson, where opposing defenses key on the running back, especially at the goal line.

The Cardinals are a large question mark offensively heading into 2013 after the personnel changes this offseason. One can look at Arians’ prior track record and project what the Cardinals scheme is going to be heading into the new year. Arizona is going to be one of the teams to watch this preseason. Have they done enough to repair that dreadful offensive line play of 2012? Can Rashard Mendenhall return to form? Will RB Stepfan Taylor play a large role in the Arizona offense? How much of an impact will former first-round selection WR Malcom Floyd have?

This is a Cardinals franchise that finished 2012 ranked 28th in passing and 32nd in rushing offense. Arizona scored a mere 250 points, only the Kansas City Chiefs were worse with 211.

Housler will likely fall down the boards in many drafts and will likely be several waiver wires in the early weeks of the regular season. Keep an eye on what’s happening in the desert this season, there could be some Cardinals players that could be a difference maker for your roster this year. TE Rob Housler could be one of them.

 

 

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