Last season, the Arizona Cardinals did not get a ton of receiving production from their tight ends. It was a combination quarterback inaccuracy and injuries. Both Todd Heap and Rob Housler missed significant time with injuries and both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton could not seem to hit these guys down the field when they were open.
Those two things spell disaster for the position.
However, with SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber's ranking of the NFL teams at the tight end position, you would think that the Arizona group went out on Friday nights to punch babies and kick puppies. Van Bibberranked the Cardinals dead last out of 32 in terms of their tight ends.
The dry desert air did not do much for Todd Heap, who caught just 24 passes and struggled with a hamstring injury. At 32, his best days are behind him. Second-year player Rob Housler will be expected to do more in the passing game this season.
You might be able to label the group as underachieving in 2011, but to say that they are the worst group in the NFL is extreme. Especially since it is considered to be one of the best set positions on the team in terms of depth.
First they have Heap, who is aging, but still can do it all. The question is durability. Next is Jeff King. Labeled a blocking tight end, he managed 27 catches and three TDs. Housler is a young up-and-comer, in the mold of Aaron Hernandez or Jimmy Graham. He is tall, he is fast and he has hands. He needs to improve in blocking, but the skills are there.
Add Jim Dray in there, who is basically a special teams player, and you have a solid group of players at tight end. I wouldn't call them gangbusters, but they are good enough to be considered average.
The worst? Hardly. And 2012 will prove that.