The 2013 NFL Draft was a wild one with a lot more trades and surprises in years past.
One of those surprises came in the second round when the Philadelphia Eagles selected University of Stanford tight end Zach Ertz with the 35th overall pick. It came as a shock to me, as it did many, since the Eagles already have two solid tight ends in Brent Celek and newly acquired James Casey. However, I was still thrilled to see Ertz fall to the Eagles because he was arguably the best tight end in the draft. Many draft analysis predicted that Ertz would go to the Atlanta Falcons at the end of the first round since Tony Gonzalez is almost at the end of his career. Well the Falcons decided to pass on the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end and Eagles quickly grabbed him.
So now the Eagles have three talented tight ends to work with. I still see Celek has the starter this season; however, Casey and Ertz will play more in the passing game since they seem to be more athletic than Celek. After watching film on Ertz, anyone can realize that this kid is extremely athletic. A man of that size who moves like that is special to watch. Ertz is an incredible route runner who uses his size to separate himself from defenders. Ertz is athletic enough to play in the slot to create mismatches with smaller corners, safeties, and linebackers.
Ertz has all the athletic ability in the world for the tight end position, but he needs to do a better job being a consistent blocker. However, he has improved in that area in years past. Ertz doesn’t have the straight line speed to would like to see, but he excels on getting open which makes him comparable to the Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
Ertz also brings a red zone threat to the table. With his size and ability to get open, Ertz can play a major role in the red zone and this is has been an issue for the Eagles for quite some time. Ertz can score a lot of touchdowns this season if he is put in the right package. Chip Kelly realizes what kind of player Ertz is since he played against him a lot in the Pac-12, so I’m assuming Kelly already has certain packages for Ertz.
What can we expect from rookie tight end Zach Ertz? Well, we know this kid is extremely talented and can play anywhere on the field. He’s not going to be a guy that will elude defenders when he catches the ball, but what he will be is a reliable tight end that gets open very often. He’ll be used in the red zone a lot and will be a huge target on third downs. So what I see from Ertz this season is about +30 catches for about +400 yards and about five touchdowns. He should be an exciting player to watch and will certainly be the future tight end for the Eagles for years to come.
Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SonnyBryan50