Rob Housler Isn’t What the Bengals Need

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Free agency has slowed at this point to a crawl, yet surprisingly the Bengals are still somewhat active. The team has addressed needs at defensive end and tackle by adding Michael Johnson and Pat Sims respectively. They addressed a need at linebacker by signing A.J. Hawk. Now, the team is planning to examine tight end Rob Housler in an effort to give themselves some much needed depth at tight end.

Housler came to the NFL in 2011 as a third round selection out of Florida Atlantic. He was essentially an oversized wide receiver who offers little as a blocker. Since this time not much has changed. Housler began his career well and peeked in 2012 with 45 catches for 417 yards. Since this time, Housler’s stats has fallen off; this past season he produced a career low nine receptions for 129 yards despite playing 15 games. Of note, he also only has one touchdown in four seasons.

Rob Housler’s issue largely lies in his inability to act as a dual threat. He’s really a “tweener.” Because he simply offers little by way of blocking, there’s little purpose to having him on the field when running the ball, or at least presenting this threat.

Also, as essentially an oversized receiver, coaches must decide this they want to employ him or another actual wide receiver. The Cardinals haven’t exactly prioritized the utilization of tight ends, but Housler, as their third-round selection in 2011, hasn’t given them much of a reason to do so, otherwise one would have to imagine, a coach like Bruce Arians would’ve found a role for him over the past two seasons. Instead, the team has employed other wide receivers who simply perform better in this role.

If the Bengals took on Housler, he would have the athletic ability to be a unique weapon, but would only be depth directly behind Tyler Eifert in the pass-catching tight end role. And for a team who wants to emphasize running the ball, this seems like a waste of a roster spot. The Bengals desperately need a blocking tight end who, ideally, also presents a threat as a receiver, or at the very least, a prospect who offers potential as a blocker.

Signing a veteran for more money who essentially wouldn’t see the field due to the talent around him and a game plan that doesn’t work emphasize his skill set, simply isn’t the right move. It actually makes me wonder if the Bengals are simply playing a bit of a game with the Ravens, who apparently offered Housler a contract after visiting with him, in an effort to drive up his price. It seems like the most likely intention here by the Bengals considering his seemingly obvious lack of fit for their offense.

Next: 2016 Bengals: Could They Be Without Lewis and Dalton?

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