PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

Jun 27, 2022, 7:45 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a reception during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

While the Arizona Cardinals and the other 31 teams in the National Football League prepare for the 2022 season with training camp a month away, some big position battles are set to take place.

The Cardinals will be no stranger to that heading into training camp expected to have healthy competition at a handful of positions.

Arizona should have spirited battles during training camp at right guard, cornerback and edge rusher opposite of Markus Golden.

However, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus thinks the biggest position battle for the Cardinals will be at tight end.

Tight end could be one of the Cardinals’ deeper positions, led by veteran Zach Ertz, who Arizona traded for in the middle of last season and re-signed this offseason.

Ertz quickly became one of quarterback Kyler Murray’s most reliable targets, catching 56 passes for 574 yards a year ago. With star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins set to miss the first six games of next season after testing positive for PEDs, Ertz should play a critical role in the Cardinals’ offense.

After him on the depth chart is where the true battle is, with veteran tight end Maxx Williams and rookie Trey McBride competing for the No. 2 role.

Also re-signing in the offseason, Williams is back for another year in Arizona after suffering a torn ACL in Week 5 of last season. He had 16 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown.

McBride, who the Cardinals drafted No. 55 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, could be the wildcard of the group after showing flashes as a productive playmaker during his collegiate career at Colorado State.

The waters were muddied more when the Cardinals selected the top tight end in the draft, McBride. The Colorado State product’s PFF grade improved each of the last two seasons, culminating a 95.0 receiving grade that saw him gain 2.78 yards per route run and over a third of the team’s receiving yards. McBride is a big time potential playmaker, but has two other quality tight ends to brush aside for playing time.

While McBride’s work may be cut out for him to jump the veterans on the depth chart, the rookie plans to use the other tight ends in the room as a resource.

“He’s a tight end who’s played in this league for a long time, and most of all he’s been around and knows how to do it the right way,” McBride said of Ertz during Cardinals rookie minicamp in May.

Regardless of how the battle plays out, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury has three different options to turn to at tight end, which could develop a completely new wrinkle in Arizona’s offense.

Arizona Cardinals

Carlos Watkins #91 of the Dallas Cowboys runs into the endzone for a touchdown as Taysom Hill #7 of...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals sign former Cowboys DL Carlos Watkins

The Arizona Cardinals signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Carlos Watkins on Thursday.
22 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton kneels on the field before the AFC championship NFL foo...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals ink Rashad Fenton to boost CB depth

The Arizona Cardinals signed former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Rashad Fenton to a one-year deal on Thursday.
22 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals WR Hollywood Brown (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals WR Hollywood Brown fined in speeding case

Arizona Cardinals receiver Hollywood Brown was fined $473 with credit for time served for an August speeding arrest on the Loop 101 freeway.
2 days ago
Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warm up prior ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals ‘feel really good’ at QB as Kyler Murray preps for next phase of rehab

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is making steady progress in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered last season.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals star backer Isaiah Simmons (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Isaiah Simmons remains positionless in Cardinals’ new-look defense

The Cardinals have a decision to make when it comes down to Isaiah Simmons. And no, it's not centered around the fifth-year option.
3 days ago
DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals is called for a personal foul penalty against Eric Sto...
Tyler Drake

Jonathan Gannon operating under premise DeAndre Hopkins will be a Card

While the trade chatter surrounding wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues, he's a Cardinal until he isn't in HC Jonathan Gannon's eyes.
2 days ago
PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals