Rookie tight end Caleb Wilson ‘locking in’ on improving craft with Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals rookie tight end Caleb Wilson is best known for his pass-catching abilities.
Mr. Irrelevant believes he can contribute in more ways than one, however.
Talking with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday, the tight end explained what he can bring to the table and how he’s improving in 2019.
One of the biggest knocks on pass catchers is their ability to be a two-way player on offense.
Can you catch the football when your number’s called and make a block when it’s not?
Knowing he could be thrown into any given situation, the No. 254 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is looking to gain the veterans’ trust in anyway he can.
“I enjoy being in the trenches, I enjoy blocking and helping the run game,” Wilson said when asked about his blocking abilities. “I do know that pass catching is my strength, and the run game is something I’m continuing to work on, but I have no problem putting my head in there and making something happen in the run game.”
After a poor season on the ground, the Cardinals are hoping for a resurgence in the run game.
The Cardinals finished dead last in yards (1,342), yards per attempt (3.8) and yards per game (83.9) as injuries and poor play riddled the 2018-19 season.
David Johnson, who had a 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016, accumulated just 940 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wilson figures to be behind Ricky Seals-Jones and Charles Clay on the depth chart, but could find added work in the run game if the team deems his blocking skills NFL ready.
And while that final product remains to be seen, Wilson’s abilities in the passing game are well documented.
The tight end joins the Cardinals after leading all FBS tight ends with 60 receptions and 965 yards. He also scored four touchdowns.
Wilson’s totals are done with skill, but also from past experiences at another position as he originally went to Old Dominion to play quarterback.
He quickly made the change to TE, transferring to USC before ending up at UCLA, but takes what he learned as a signal caller and uses it to his advantage.
“I’m always thinking about what a quarterback wants to see, what looks open to a quarterback,” Wilson said. “I’m always trying to understand coverages and rotations so I can find the openings in the defense.
“I definitely bring my former QB mindset to the field as a tight end because I feel it makes the game so much easier, knowing what a quarterback’s looking for and knowing what he wants.”
With a rookie quarterback under center, a quarterback-turned-tight end could help alleviate some growing pains as Kyler Murray works to get into NFL form.
A pass catcher with a thought process of a signal caller is never a bad thing.