The NFC East has had their fair share of Pro Bowl tight ends come and go. Jeremy Shockey and Jason Witten dominated in the 2000’s, Chris Cooley was a constant receiving threat in Washington, and most recently Zach Ertz was one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL.
The tight ends of the east aren’t what they used to be, but there’s still budding talent at the position throughout the division.
Here’s a look at each tight end group in the NFC East, ranked from best to worst.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz (?), Richard Rodgers, Caleb Wilson
The Eagles have had the best tight end room in the division for the past few seasons and that shouldn’t change in 2021.
Dallas Goedert is primed to become the TE1 in Nick Sirianni’s offense. He’s been one of the best all around tight ends in the league for the past few seasons, and now with added opportunity, he could earn himself his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021.
As of right now, Zach Ertz is still on the roster. That may change by the start of training camp — your guess is as good as mine at this point. If he does remain an Eagle this year, he’ll be the best backup tight end in the league. Injuries took their toll on the entire team last year, and Ertz wasn’t excluded from that. He started just 11 games and put forth his worst outing since his rookie campaign.
At 30 years old heading into the season, Ertz is definitely out of his prime. But he should still be a very serviceable receiving threat when healthy. His skill set lends itself to aging well.
Then we have Richard Rodgers, who’s currently the TE3. He proved last season to be a very valuable depth piece for this Eagles offense. In four starts, he totaled 24 receptions for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns.
From top to bottom, this Eagles tight end group is as solid as they come in the NFL. Not only are they the best tight end room in the NFC East, they could be one of the best in the entire league if Ertz stays in town.
2. New York Giants
Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo
The Giants have been patiently waiting for an Evan Engram breakout season. Four years into his career, and he’s yet to progress in any tangible way. Last season was his best year since his rookie year, though. Engram posted 63 receptions for 654 yards, but only reached the end zone one time.
If Engram finally has that breakout year everyone in New York is hoping for, the Giants tight end group is as good as any in the league. Kyle Rudolph was a mainstay in the Vikings passing game for the past decade, and he’ll serve as the team’s TE2. Although he’s regressed a bit over the past two seasons, he’s still a reliable target who catches over 75 percent of the balls thrown his way.
Both Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo are nice depth pieces behind Engram and Rudolph. Smith saw some playing time last year, hauling in 18 catches for 112 yards. Toilolo is more of a blocking tight end who likes to use his 6-foot-8, 268 pound frame to maul oncoming defenders.
This tight end group is certainly talented, but their potential ceiling hinges on Engram’s development.
3. Washington Football Team
Logan Thomas, John Bates, Ricky Seal-Jones, Temarrick Hemingway
Before 2020, Logan Thomas was an afterthought around the NFL. In his fifth season at age 29, Thomas finally found a home in Washington and had a remarkable breakout year. He saw 110 targets in 2020, catching 72 of them for 670 yards and 6 touchdowns. Before last season, Thomas hadn’t seen more than 30 targets in a year.
If he can continue to be a consistent receiving option for Washington, their passing attack should be formidable. But outside of Thomas, the team doesn’t have much to write home about in their tight end room.
John Bates is a rookie fourth round selection out of Boise State who provides nice depth, but will need to work to refine his receiving skills before becoming a true threat in the NFL. Ricky Seals-Jones only saw one target in Kansas City last season, and Temarrick Hemingway has only seen two targets in his three year career.
If Thomas continues to play well and Bates develops quicker than expected, this group will be fine in 2020. But that’s a big ‘if.’
4. Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Schultz, Blake Jarwin, Jeremy Sprinkle, Sean McKeon
It’s unclear who will be the TE1 for this Dallas Cowboys offense right now, Dalton Schultz or Blake Jarwin. But one thing is clear with this tight end group, defensive coordinators won’t lose any sleep over any of Dallas’ receiving threats at the position.
Schultz filled in for an injured Jarwin last season and put up nice numbers. 63 receptions on 89 targets for 615 yards and 4 touchdowns. Schultz isn’t bad, and neither is Jarwin, but they’re nothing spectacular. With the over abundance of weapons on this Cowboys offense heading into the season, I’d be shocked if either of them saw over 90 targets in 2021.
Jeremy Sprinkle and rookie Sean McKeon should be nice depth pieces, but nothing more.
The Cowboys haven’t had a legitimate receiving threat at the tight end position since Witten left, and it looks like it’ll remain that way for at least one more year.
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