Although Zach Ertz is still technically on the roster, his time with the Philadelphia Eagles is likely going to come to an end within the next few weeks.
That leaves former second round pick Dallas Goedert as the clear cut TE1 entering the 2021 season.
Playing alongside Ertz, Goedert has still been a key to the Eagles passing attack during his three years with the team. He’s averaged about 65 targets per season, 45 receptions, 488 receiving yards, and four touchdown receptions. He’s also led the team in passer rating when targeted since being drafted.
So what should we expect out of Goedert now that he’ll be the top tight end in the Eagles offense?
Talent-wise, Goedert has the potential to be a top tier tight end in the NFL for years to come. He’s only 25 years old and has shown development each year of his career thus far. And the team clearly recognizes his potential, with reports suggesting they’re in talks with Goedert’s camp on a contract extension.
He’s fancied himself as one of the best dual threat tight ends in the league, showing great blocking ability along with his solid receiving capability. Heading into the 2021 season, Pro Football Focus ranked Goedert as the fifth-best tight end in the NFL, which is high praise for someone who’s never started more than nine games in a season.
Since 2018 (the year Goedert was drafted), he’s the only tight end in the NFL with a receiving and blocking grade over 80, per PFF.
Not bad. Especially when you consider the likes of George Kittle and Rob Gronkowski being around during that time — both of whom are among the best blocking tight ends in the league.
Obviously, Goedert’s usage will go up without Ertz in the fold, but we also know that new head coach Nick Sirianni likes to target his tight ends a ton in the passing game. Last year when Sirianni was the Colts offensive coordinator, the Colts used three tight ends, Trey Burton, Mo Allie-Cox, and Jack Doyle. In total, they were targeted 120 times, most on the team.
Given the little amount of depth behind Goedert right now, seeing upwards of 120 targets is not that far fetched. 120 targets would have placed a tight end third in targets among the position last season, behind only Darren Waller and Travis Kelce.
Although Sirianni would ideally like to play more than one tight end in certain formations, it may not be favorable to do so with someone like Jason Croom, Caleb Wilson, or Hakeem Butler. So expect Goedert to see the vast majority of tight end targets in 2021.
Goedert is one of the few proven players on the Eagles offense as well. While I like the potential that their wide receiver group presents, I’d expect Sirianni to lean on his proven talent, especially in the early portion of the year.
Seeing Goedert end the year as the team’s leading receiver is certainly within the realm of possibilities. He’s been a starting caliber tight end since entering the league, he just never had the opportunity to truly shine and show people what he can do with a full 16 starts in a season.
Playing alongside Ertz was probably best for his long-term development. Learning from one of the best route running tight ends of our time can never hurt, and it’s something that Goedert has improved on while playing with the former All-Pro.
Fans should be excited to see what Goedert can do this season. We may be talking about having one of the best tight ends in the NFL by season’s end.
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