The New York Giants could use a proven pass catcher at tight end. Gee, who hasn't heard that since the end of the 2013 season? Well, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com -- in a post listing 10 summer trade candidates -- has proposed an option for Giants. Wesseling lists Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler as a trade candidate, and sees the Giants among his potential landing spots.
A speedy pass-catching specialist, Housler is underutilized in Bruce Arians' offense, which favors blocking specialists at tight end. As a contract year player who has not met expectations in Arizona, Housler should be available for the right price. New Giants coordinator Ben McAdoo is believed to be seeking a tight end with Housler's skill set.
So, what is Housler, why might he be available and is he a player who could help the Giants? Let's take a closer look.
Housler is a 6-foot-5, 238-pound 26-year-old who was a third-round pick (69th overall) by the Cardinals in 2011. He has caught 96 passes in three seasons, including 45 in 2012 and 39 last season. He came out of Florida Atlantic with a reputation as a pass-catcher who wasn't much of a blocker, and that has proven to be accurate. His blocking score from Pro Football Focus (run- and pass-blocking combined) was -6.6 in 2013. In 2012 it was -13.1, including -12.1 in run-blocking.
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So, why is Housler available? The Cardinals added former Giants tight end Jake Ballard during the middle of the 2013 season. This offseason Arizona signed veteran free-agent tight end John Carlson and selected Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas in the second round of the NFL Draft. That doesn't sound like a vote of confidence in Housler's ability, and those who cover the Cardinals see the situation the same way.
SB Nation's 'Revenge of the Birds' writes that "Housler will have some work to do if he wants to crank the starting lineup again." AZCardinals.com echoes that, saying "Housler is going to have to work hard to stay up on the depth chart."
Would Housler help the Giants? Sure, maybe, if they are indeed looking for a one-dimensional pass-catching tight end to add to the cadre of receiving options for Eli Manning. They haven't really given that indication, however. There was word leading up to the draft that they weren't as interested in Eric Ebron of North Carolina, the best pass-catching tight end in the draft, as many thought they would be. They signed only veteran tight end Kellen Davis, a blocking specialist. They brought in undrafted Xavier Grimble, more of a traditional tight end. The holdovers, Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, are bigger tight ends who can be used as blockers as well as receivers.
Housler seems like the Travis Beckum type of tight end -- a guy you don't want inline or lead-blocking from the backfield. Or, a slightly taller version of ex-Giant Brandon Myers.
Would the Giants trade for Housler? Maybe, but I can't see them offering much more than a conditional pick, probably a seventh-rounder based on whether or not Housler actually makes the 53-man roster.
More likely than surrendering a pick for a guy like this I would think the Giants will wait and assess what they have as the offseason, preseason and training camp proceed. If they think they need additional help my expectation would be that they wait and see what falls from the NFL roster-cut tree as we get closer to the season.
Your thoughts on Housler, Giants' fans?