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Draft Primer 2015: Tight Ends

Need isn't crucial with high hopes of young players Niklas, Fells along with veteran Carlson


Minnesota's Maxx Williams is considered the top tight end available in a relatively thin class.

The NFL draft will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Chicago. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.

More draft analysis: LB I RB I CB

Draft primer: Tight end

Cardinals under contract:Troy Niklas; Darren Fells; John Carlson; Ted Bolser; Ifeanyi Momah

Need: Medium

Images of the tight ends projected to be taken in the 2015 draft

Analysis: The Cardinals didn't get standout play from their tight end group in 2014, but with three players back who have the capacity to improve, it's not a glaring need heading into the draft. Troy Niklas was the team's second-round selection last year but was slowed by several different injuries throughout his rookie campaign, which made his impact

negligible. The missed developmental time is concerning, but he still has the tools to be an effective blocking tight end with receiving ability, and the Cardinals have high hopes for his future.

Darren Fells became the starter late in the season, showing impressive blockings skills. He is still learning the game after playing basketball in college and professionally, but more positive strides could keep him in line for playing time in 2015. John Carlson didn't have the type of season he wanted, but still finished with 33 catches for 350 yards to lead the tight ends, and is the most natural pass-catcher in the group. Rob Housler signed with the Browns in free agency.

Every tight end is expected to be on the board when the Cardinals choose at No. 24, so if they really want one early the opportunity is there. Minnesota's Maxx Williams is the first tight end projected to be picked, followed by Miami's Clive Walford. The Cardinals don't figure to use an early pick on a tight end, though. There will be several available in the later rounds, and picking one up on Day 3 seems most likely, if the Cardinals draft one at all. There is currently no clear-cut option for the team's fourth tight end, but there are several ways to fill that spot. It could come in the draft, from players currently on the roster – Ted Bolser or Ifeanyi Momah – or in free agency.

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