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Pasch Factor: Potential Gift At Tight End

Posted Dec 1, 2017

Seals-Jones is emerging as needed threat in passing game

Much of the credit for the Cardinals win against Jacksonville is going to quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Rightly so.

Gabbert has played like a legitimate NFL starting quarterback over the last two weeks. Gabbert has been a headliner for many years, but often for the wrong reasons, as a player who didn't live up to his first-round draft status. Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones knows all about headlines and not meeting expectations.

Seals-Jones was a five-star recruit out of high school, and went to Texas A&M as a wide receiver to play alongside Johnny Manziel. I remember calling Ricky's first college game for ESPN. Seals-Jones looked and ran like your typical SEC wide receiver, scoring on a 71-yard touchdown pass in his debut. But he got injured in that game, tried to play through the injury a couple of games later against Alabama, but ended up taking a medical redshirt.

He put up decent numbers the following couple of seasons, but wasn’t very productive as a redshirt junior in 2016. Still, Seals-Jones decided to forgo his final season and enter the NFL draft. Seals-Jones wasn't selected, and signed a rookie free-agent contract with the Cardinals. Due to injuries at tight end, Seals-Jones got his opportunity, and has played stunningly well.

One of the reasons teams didn't draft him coming out of college was uncertainty over what position he would play. At 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds, he seemed too big to be a wide receiver. Plus, he ran a 4.7 40-yard dash, somewhat slow for a receiver. That time, however, is good for a tight end.

Some would argue Seals-Jones is too small to be an NFL tight end, but by today's standards, he might actually be the perfect size. He has proven to be a major mismatch in the passing game, giving the Cardinals a different type of tight end which we haven't seen in Arizona in a long time. Linebackers and safeties are not fast enough to cover him, and corners are too small to battle his size and strength. It will be interesting to see how teams adjust over the next few games, but the more attention he draws, the more things will open up for other players.

The Cardinals have been looking for a No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. It's still early, but Seals-Jones-- as a tight end--might be the answer.

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