In attempt to give quarterback Carson Palmer yet another offensive weapon this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals used the No. 52 pick in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas.
The 6-foot-7 Niklas played two years with the Irish and caught 37 balls for 573 yards and six touchdowns.
“It’s been extremely hard to fight the tight end that’s a duel threat, can do both things and do them well,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. “That’s what this guy is. There’s a few of those players left in the NFL, guys like Heath Miller and those sort of players.
“This to me is a guy who could really transcend into one of the top, all-around tight ends at some point in his career.”
Niklas is the second Notre Dame player ever to be taken by the Cardinals since they moved to the Valley, joining wide receiver Michael Floyd (2012).
Nephew of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Niklas is the first tight end taken by Arizona since Rob Housler was picked by the organization in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Los Angeles Times lineman of the year in 2010, the former Servite High School product transitioned to tight end before his sophomore season in South Bend.
“I think it’ll help to let Coach [Arians] mold me in to the type he wants, instead of having to change me from something that I’ve already become,” Niklas said.
Since the NFL merger, Niklas is the 10th Irish tight end to be taken in the first or second round of the draft.