The New Orleans Saints have a lot of questions at the tight end position this offseason, due in no small part to the fact that the Saints only rostered tight ends currently are Josh Hill and a couple of UDFAs.
One of those UDFA tight end options is Dan Arnold. Arnold, out of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (wut?), played in 10 regular season games for the Saints, starting one, behind the aforementioned Hill and the soon-to-be-retired Benjamin Watson. Arnold finished the regular season with 12 receptions on 19 targets (catch rate of 63.2%) for 150 yards with one touchdown and one fumble.
Dan Arnold - At a Glance
- Approximate Value: 2 (rookie year)
- Overall Grade: 68.0
- Receiving Grade: 67.9
- Run Block Grade: 55.2
- Pass Block Grade: 62.4)
- Total Snaps: 147 (141 on offense and 6 on special teams)
When it came time for the playoffs, Arnold showed the inconsistencies that led him to go undrafted.
First, he made a tremendous catch for a big gain against the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round. Brian Baldinger breaks it down:
.@Saints @drewbrees throws to #DanArnold for +23 into the void created by a “double team” created to blanket @A_kamara6 . #Saints spread you out and in a flashbulb find the best matchup. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/UpEFovwMDX— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 11, 2019
Then, in the wild card round against the Los Angeles Rams, despite good coverage from the Rams secondary, Drew Brees drops a perfect pass for a would-be touchdown. Arnold is unable to secure the catch and those missing points would go on to hurt.
Here's how it plays out. Thomas goes in motion, Peters/JJ3 bracket. Brees targets Dan Arnold who drops a TD, even with Countess/Barron in good position to defend it. pic.twitter.com/5uOWy46uIo— Sosa K (@QBsMVP) January 23, 2019
It’s these types of ups and downs that can hopefully get ironed out over the course of Arnold’s pro career. Considering Drew Brees only has one year left on his contract and his eventual retirement is looming every closer, the Saints will need Arnold to figure things out sooner rather than later before their Super Bowl window closes for good.