Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals Roster Battles To Watch

The NFC West remains the hot ticket among divisions and it’s up to the Arizona Cardinals to keep pace with the rest.

Tight End:  Rob Housler vs. Troy Niklas

Rob Housler was a serviceable if unremarkable option for the Arizona Cardinals at tight end in 2013.  He was a good enough outlet for Carson Palmer when the receivers couldn’t get open, but he’s not much more than that.  Still he did flash some promise against really good defenses, which is why he has a legitimate shot to keep his starting job despite the presence of 2nd round pick Troy Niklas, who the Cardinals clearly brought in as competition.  The Notre Dame rookie needs some polish but his physical ceiling is very high, which is why Housler better be ready.

Slot WR:  Ted Ginn vs. John Brown

Andre Roberts was a tough loss as the slot receiver for the Cardinals offense.  Replacing him was at the top of the to-do list for the front office during the off-season in order to ease the pressure on Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.  Their first move to that end was signing veteran Ted Ginn whose added return ability would be a big help.  Then they struck again during the draft when they took John Brown in the 3rd round.  Despite coming from a small school, Brown’s blazing speed caught the attention of a lot of teams, and that buzz hasn’t let up since he hit the field for OTAs.  Not only should he challenge for the third receiver spot, he might also challenge Ginn for return duties as well.

Defensive Tackle:  Darnell Dockett vs. Ed Stinson

When Darnell Dockett calls a player the next Darnell Dockett, it’s important to stand up and take notice.  That is what the three-time Pro Bowler said about Arizona Cardinals rookie 5th round pick Ed Stinson.  The Alabama product indeed comes in with little fanfare but plenty of ability, and the fact that the 33-year old Dockett took notice is quite hard to ignore.  Stinson comes from a proven program and if given a legitimate shot in training camp, may just shock a lot of people by putting up a serious fight for one of one of the starting defensive tackle jobs, namely the one held by Dockett himself.

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Darnell Dockett John Brown Rob Housler Ted Ginn Troy Niklas

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