Photo of Troy Niklas
Drafted By: Cardinals
  • Round 2
  • Pick 20
  • Overall 52

Combine Results

5.62 ?
  • 27 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 32.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 114.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.57 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.55 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 12.19 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He moves better than people think at 270 pounds. Only played the tight end position for two years; he came to Notre Dame as highly recruited outside linebacker. He can become best blocking tight end in pro football if he wants to. He's very good on short and intermediate pass routes, but he's not a 4.5 (40-yard dash) guy. Notre Dame's history of tight ends has been phenomenal." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'6" Height
  • 34 1/8" Arm Length
  • 270LBS. Weight
  • 10" Hands


Highly recruited two-way lineman/tight end out of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, where he won a state title. Nephew of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Played outside linebacker as a true freshman in 2011, when he played 12 games (one start) and collected 20 tackles, one-half for loss and zero sacks. Did not play in the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State. Converted to tight end and backed up Bengals '13 first-rounder Tyler Eifert in '12 -- started 7-of-13 games and tallied 5 catches for 75 yards (15-yard average) and a touchdown. Took on a more prominent role in '13 when he started all 13 games and produced 32-498-5 (15.6). Elected not to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Did not work out at pro day because of double-hernia surgery performed on March 11.



Outstanding size with a well-proportioned, muscular build. Big target over the middle and in the red zone. Athletic with flexible hips and knees to run the full tight end route tree. Bursts into routes and stretches the seam. Good hands. Has playmaking ability. Lined up flexed and in-line. Good potential as a blocker. Bends his knees, shuffles and fans rushers wide. Works well in tandem and can combo block effectively. Takes care of his body and maintains low body fat. Has NFL bloodlines.


Work in progress as an in-line blocker -- lacks ideal base strength, grip strength and overall body power. Bends at the waist and falls off some blocks. Route running needs refinement. Is still learning to use his frame advantageously -- inconsistent traffic player. Lacks elite top-end speed. Average elusiveness and creativity after the catch. Could stand to play with more physicality and become a better finisher.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2-3

Bottom Line

A converted DE/OLB who emerged from the shadow of Bengals 2013 first-rounder Tyler Eifert, Niklas is the latest in a strong line of NFL tight ends produced by Notre Dame. He boasts an intriguing combination of size, athleticism, receiving ability and blocking ability to develop into a bona fide, balanced, No. 1 tight end. Has played tight end for just two years and is clearly ascending.
-Nolan Nawrocki
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.