NFL Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals 2013 Breakout Candidate: Rob Housler

Rob Housler Arizona Cardinals

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The tight end position is becoming a sought after commodity in the NFL today. For the Arizona Cardinals, there weren’t many positives to take away from the 2012 season, but one possible optimistic development was the emergence of Rob Housler.

After seeing little action in the season’s first four games, Housler was given an expanded role from Week 5 on. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound matchup nightmare went on to make 45 catches for 417 yards during the Cards’ final 12 games of 2012. An intriguing aspect of his production was the amount of missed tackles that he forced. Housler forced 12 missed tackles during that stretch which was only outdone by one tight end, Tony Gonzalez, during the course of the entire season. His elusiveness provides definite upside to an offense in desperate need of some.

Arizona will not employ a fullback in new head coach Bruce Arians’ offense this season which means more opportunities in a two tight end set. Jeff King is the blocking tight end for the Cards, and pairing him with Housler will provide a devastating contrast for defenses to have to deal with. Arians told the team’s website that Housler is a “wideout playing tight end” and that “the sky is the limit as far as where he can get talent-wise.”

What can’t be overlooked is the fact that Housler put up his numbers in 2012 with the veritable cast of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, and Ryan Lindley throwing him the football. This season Carson Palmer comes to town with more tools than those three guys combined as a signal caller. His presence alone gives Housler more value as a receiving threat in the upcoming season.

As a former third round pick, clearly there were expectations for Housler to develop into a solid receiving tight end at the NFL level. It appears that 2013 will be his opportunity to live up to that potential and give the Cardinals a legitimate threat outside of Larry Fitzgerald in the passing game.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.