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Cardinals Draft Primer 2017: Tight End

With No. 2 tight end spot in flux, team could consider position in the draft

The Cardinals didn't make a big splash in free agency, preferring to add lower-priced veterans to the roster before turning their attention to the draft. The prospect pool is considered deep this year, and General Manager Steve Keim will aim to add pieces that can make an impact in 2017 and beyond. The three-day draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday, where the Cardinals have the No. 13 overall pick. Position primers will be rolled out daily as it approaches.

More draft primer analysis:CB I WR I LB I RB I DL I OL I ST

Draft primer: Tight End

Players under contract:Jermaine Gresham; Troy Niklas; Ifeanyi Momah; Hakeem Valles

Need: Medium

Images of the tight end prospects projected to get drafted this week

The Cardinals' situation: Gresham was re-signed to a lucrative four-year contract in the offseason, and he will get the majority of work once again. The Cardinals often employ two tight ends, though, and they didn't tender an offer to restricted free agent Darren Fells, who moved on to Detroit. It seems like an open competition for the spot Fells vacated, as Niklas, a former second-round pick, would love to shake the injuries that have made him a non-factor in the NFL, while Momah and Valles look to become significant contributors for the first time in their careers.

The draft class: The Cardinals could beef up the group through the draft, as the tight end class is strong. Alabama's O.J. Howard leads the way as a physical specimen who can both block and catch. Miami's David Njoku is in the mold of the elite receiving tight ends that have become prominent in the NFL the past few years. Michigan's Jake Butt could have been an early pick but tore his ACL in the team's bowl game and will likely slip a couple rounds. There is both high-end talent and some depth in this class, which will intrigue NFL teams.

The conclusion: The Cardinals really like what Gresham brings and now have him in the fold for the foreseeable future. The tight end position isn't as glamorous on this team as with others, so the Cardinals could choose to add a player late in the draft or in free agency to compete for a spot. However, with Fells gone and the passing game in need of another big body after the departure of Michael Floyd, the Cardinals could also consider the position with their earlier picks.

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