TE Fells as “secret superstar”

Posted by Darren Urban on June 17, 2015 – 3:01 pm

Every year the website compiles a list of players it dubs “secret superstars” — guys who are under the radar but have the potential to break out in some way, shape or form. Their choice for the Cardinals is tight end Darren Fells, which makes a lot of sense given the circumstances.

It’s pointed out that Fells does his best work as a blocker, and at this point, it’s obvious that is what Bruce Arians is looking for first from his tight ends. What strikes me is Fells’ possibility as a leader at the position. Fells is modest, in keeping with his humble NFL beginnings being late to the party after playing professional basketball overseas. He is still inexperienced but he isn’t young — he’s 29 — and the tight ends room needs a voice now that John Carlson has retired. He is definitely playing with more confidence now than he did when he showed up in 2013 or even late last season when he was getting some playing time.

“Superstar” is a loaded term. Fells isn’t going to turn into Antonio Gates. (At least, I don’t think he will.) The Cardinals will need more from the position. Troy Niklas, another blocker-first, is a guy who has to come along, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see GM Steve Keim bring in a veteran tight end when training camp begins. But on a team that needs steady tight end play, I think PFF is on the right track in pegging Fells as a guy who can deliver.


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Posted in Blog | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “TE Fells as “secret superstar””

  1. By Bruce on Jun 17, 2015 | Reply

    You just like him cuz his name is Darren.LOL

    Couldn’t resist. Sorry.

    I like Fells. I expect him to be a lot better this year. Honestly, I liked him more last year then Carlson. I’m glad Carlson is gone. I don’t think I could watch him drop another clutch pass if my life depended on it.

  2. By clssylssy on Jun 17, 2015 | Reply

    I liked Fells last season (what we saw of him) and, truth be told, I think Antonio Gates would be wasted in BA’s way of doing things. Any veteran TE brought in will be, most likely, for leadership in the TE room, and, as you said, Fells and Nicklas are coming along now that they have a season behind them. Still, it’s always good news to see a less known talent recognized by profootballfocus. “Secret Superstar” is kinda a loaded tag to hang on anybody especially in their early years with a team, almost better to fly under the radar and then burst onto the scene as a surprise!

  3. By Crow on Jun 17, 2015 | Reply

    Carlson will definately be missed but this just gives the kids ( yes 29 is still a kid) a chance……. fells and niklas will definitely be big parts of this offense with palmer still on the mend

  4. By BIGAL on Jun 17, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, this is funny to me…I for one have been waiting a lifetime to see some TE
    play here in AZ! I grew up in Chicago in the 60’s…got to see as a youngster fan… not only the Great Gale Sayers…the incomparable Dick Butkus!!! & “some guy” named Mike! Yeah, Mike Ditka play for the Chicago Bears! So you see I have a life long love affair with TE’s making skill player, game changing plays…I was the first GM in our 20 year FF league to discover & own Antonio Gates…I also played TE in my own brief football career…So you see the whole TE thing…point being…I know he is late to the game @ 29 but! I for one believe Darren Fells has it all! He reminds me of Gates…Didn’t Gates have like 12 TD’s last year when everybody was riding him off? BA, get this guy some action! Some plays! open up the middle of the field! Thank you!

  5. By Big Ken on Jun 17, 2015 | Reply

    I couldn’t stand Carlson missing another blocking assignment. Fells? Oh yeah makes the tough blocks. I’ve seen him catch the ball a few times, but I have NEVER seen him drop a pass and I watch all the games.

  6. By jwoodaz on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    We need a TE threat too. Haven’t had one in years, many years. The opportunity is there for someone and quite frankly I hope they all take advantage of the chance and they all become valuable contributors in the offensive attack this year. Even two would be cool…Thanks again for all you and your team does Darren’

  7. By Eazy E on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    We need Gresham! I’m not confident in our TEs, youth or not!

  8. By Kurt on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    I fully concur

  9. By clssylssy on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    I too love TEs but what many Cardinal fans seem to not realize or blissfully ignore is that Bruce Arians doesn’t use TEs in the conventional manner, he wants blockers which is why he uses his big receivers like Fitz and Floyd to get the job done instead of going after the Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten types. I could see him loving to get a guy like Gronk but in the meantime , will relegate TEs to a different role who maybe will get the occasional “surprise” big play. Schemes are different from coach to coach and team to team and one size doesn’t fit all!

  10. By Marlin on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    Fells looked real good last year. Media won’t let him shake the basketball heritage. He’s a football player….and a solid tight end.

  11. By Leeskicitizen on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    Throughout his career, Carson Palmer has displayed an affinity for throwing to tight ends with good success, and not merely as a pressure release due to other receivers being covered. Earlier in his career, he’s had the tight ends who knew how to get open and who held onto the ball when thrown to. However, since coming to the Cardinals, he hasn’t had a tight end he could depend upon.

    During the 2014 off season Darren Fells spent his own money on a blocking coach and turned a weakness into a strength. In the second half of the 2014 season he proved his worth as a receiver as he used his already good hands, honed and sure as a basketball pro, to hold onto, and in some cases take balls thrown to him from defenders. He is now a tight end that Carson Palmer likes to thrown to.

    I’d like to see Palmer and Fells develop a chemistry of trust during training camp. BA’s vertical threat needs to have a constant short threat to keep it honest, and there will be times that the offense will choose to stay on the field during drives to keep the defense fresh and nasty. For the time being, I’m content to wait and watch what happens with our current tight end room during training camp.

  12. By rod on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    I believe he is the son of this famous actor who dropped the “S” and became just “Fell” for his stage name.

    See :

  13. By Richard S on Jun 18, 2015 | Reply

    I haven’t seen any tight ends the Cards have had since Jackie Smith who could run over the defensive backs. There was a real smash mouth tight end. I remember the basketball player who won the position he and I were battling for, at least that’s what the local paper said and he went on later to get an invitation from the Dallas Cowboys to try out for their team and he never played football. Our high school was too small to have a football team. He did play junior college basketball and ended up selling insurance.

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