The 2014 second-round pick replaces Jermaine Gresham, at least temporarily.
Despite his draft status, tight end Troy Niklas has had a tough time getting on the field for the Arizona Cardinals. In two seasons, the second-round pick from Notre Dame has managed just 268 snaps on offense, producing a total of seven receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
But if Cardinals practice on Tuesday was any indication, Niklas may finally get more of a look. According to Kent Somers of azcentral.com, he was running with the first-team offense in place of Jermaine Gresham, who had just 18 catches for 223 yards and one touchdown last season.
Somers notes that Gresham is currently dealing with a back injury sustained in the Cardinals’ preseason opener. However, Niklas also appears to have jumped ahead of Darren Fells, who played significantly more than Niklas last season.
Perhaps Niklas’ rise up the depth chart should come as no surprise. For one, he battled injuries the first two years of his pro career. Nicholas also was considered a raw prospect coming into the league, hauling in only 37 passes for 573 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons at Notre Dame.
If Niklas is suddenly on the cusp of emerging as an NFL talent, he could be another valuable weapon in a dangerous Cardinals offense. The 23-year-old is a huge target in the red zone at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, and has flashed some ability to get downfield as well, catching two passes for 44 yards in the preseason opener.