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Housler could become hidden gem in Cardinals draft

Although the Arizona Cardinals passed on Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph in the second round in favor of Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, the team may have found a gem in their third round selection.

Rob Housler, the tight end from Florida Atlantic University, wasn’t exactly a superstar. He came from the Sun Belt Conference and ranked as the fifth best tight end in CBS sports’ 2011 draft player rankings.

However, he turned in a 4.46 forty-yard dash time before the draft and is expected to become a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses with his 6-5, 215 pound frame.

“Housler is no slouch,” Cardinals general manager Rod Graves told Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash Monday.

“With a 4.46 and being that size, I think he is going to be an excellent candidate for us and has got a chance to be just as good as (Notre Dame tight end) Kyle Rudolph when it’s all said and done.”

Housler had 39 receptions for 629 yards and four touchdowns while averaging over 16 yards per catch at FAU last season.

For perspective, Rudolph had only 328 yards on 28 receptions and three touchdowns last season after he was hampered with a hamstring injury.

Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike Miller was a guest on the annual Big Red Rage post draft show and said he is excited on what Housler will bring to the team.

He said Housler is very athletic and runs great routes while his hands and size make him a difficult assignment for opposing defenses.

“The big difference from those guys is what he does in the pass game,” Miller said.

“He’s an excellent athlete and has a real feel for the pass game. I would say the separator with Housler is his speed and the dynamic he brings to the pass game is pretty special.”

Miller said the team will need to work with Housler on his blocking abilities but said the team is excited for the fighting attitude the tight end brings.

“He’s going to fight you,” Miller said. “That’s the one thing that we did like is that although he’s not a point to point blocker of a 300 pound defensive end, we still feel he’s a guy that is going to fight.”

“We saw that on the film and the advantage he is going to bring to the passing game really excited us.”