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Why Ifeanyi Momah is the Cardinals’ breakout player this season

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Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White breaks it down.

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Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It stood to reason that it might take a few years for Ifeanyi Momah to make a successful transition from wide receiver in college to tight end for the Arizona Cardinals because he had never played tight end in his life. What nobody could've possibly predicted, however, is that he would have to deal with so many injuries while trying to learn how to play the position.

Momah was having a pretty good preseason in 2015 only to have a knee injury land him on injured reserve before he played a single down in a regular season game.

After he finally worked himself onto the game day roster in Week 4 last year, Momah notched his first two regular season receptions of his career against Seattle in Week 7, both for over 20 yards. With everything seemingly looking up for Momah, he got his first start the next week against the Panthers and broke his wrist to end his second season on injured reserve.

That had to suuuuuck!

Now Momah is healthy once again. If he can finally stay that way, he has a great chance to become a vital part of the Cardinals offense.

Of course it’s not like Arizona throws a lot to its tight ends, so don't expect him to set the world on fire statistically. You may recall that last season I selected Darren Fells, another tight end, to be the Cardinals' breakout player. Unfortunately, I was wrong on that one. Fells' production actually went down from 21 catches in 2015 to 14 catches last year. If Momah can get anywhere near 20 catches this season, I don't think there is any question that would be a huge leap forward for him.

He certainly looks the part at 6'7 and 255 pounds. Momah may not be fast enough to play wide receiver, but has pretty good speed for a tight end. In limited appearances his hands look to be sure, and he has some run after catch ability as well. There is a whole lot to like about him even with so little film on him.

But he simply has to find a way to avoid injury this season.

With Fells now gone to Detroit (where he has been lighting it up, according to some beat writers covering the team) there is a huge opportunity for Momah to step up and become a viable option for Arizona's offense. He is two years removed from the knee injury and as healthy as he has ever been (knock on wood), so I believe that this is the year he leaves the injuries in the past and starts to make a name for himself in the NFL. That is why he is my choice for Arizona's breakout player of 2017.