By all accounts, the Philadelphia Eagles tight end group is one of the strongest position groups on the team entering the 2021 season.
Even if Zach Ertz doesn’t end up playing for the Eagles this year, Dallas Goedert is more than ready to take over as the primary tight end. And veteran Richard Rodgers will provide nice depth either way.
Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of this versatile tight end room as they prepare for the upcoming season.
The Eagles have great depth at the tight end position. With Goedert now firmly stationed as the TE1 for this offense, Ertz should feast operating out of the slot or as the second tight end on the line. We don’t know for certain if Ertz will be back, but with training camp just under two weeks away, it’s hard to imagine a trade/release happening before then.
During camp, maybe. But all signs are pointing towards Ertz staying put.
If Goedert or Ertz get injured, Rodgers is more than capable of stepping in and providing a steady presence for the Eagles offense. In four starts last season, Rodgers totaled 24 receptions for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Individually, Goedert is arguably the best weapon on this Eagles offense. Pro Football Focus ranked Goedert as the fifth-best tight end in football entering the year. He’s the only tight end since 2018 with a receiving and blocking grade over 80. Per PFF, he ranks seventh in receiving grade and first in run-blocking grade among tight ends during that three-year span.
In 2020, Goedert led the team in yards per game, receptions of 20+ yards, and receiving first downs. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses in his game.
His numbers haven’t been eye opening since entering the NFL — mostly due to splitting time with Ertz. Now that he’ll be the unquestioned TE1, his production should sky rocket. Even if Ertz is back, Goedert is primed to take over TE1 duties and the coaching staff shouldn’t let Ertz’s stature as an Eagle legend effect that.
Simply put, Goedert is better than Ertz at this point, and the depth chart should reflect that. It’ll be exciting to see what Goedert’s ceiling looks like.
Behind the three main tight ends, the Eagles have a handful of projects that they hope to develop. Jack Stoll, Jason Croom, Caleb Wilson, and Hakeem Butler will all battle during camp for that final tight end roster spot. I like Stoll to get that final spot, or at least find himself on the practice squad. He was a priority undrafted free agent signing, as he got the most guaranteed money ($122,500) of any Eagles UDFA.
Truthfully, there isn’t much to complain about with this group. If Ertz leaves, then the notion of this position group being the best on the offense will get tossed out the window. But we’re not evaluating what could happen. Ertz is here right now and the tight end group should be evaluated as if he’ll be here in 2021, even if every analyst continues to say he won’t be.
There are a few minor nitpicks with this group, though. Aside from Goedert, they don’t have any exciting young talent to work with on the depth chart. Ertz is old and probably won’t be here after this year, Rodgers is 29 and lacks superb athleticism.
Stoll is a rookie, but he wasn’t a great receiving threat at Nebraska. His best chance as contributing this year is as a special teams blocker.
All in all, this position group is set. It feels good to keep these ‘The Bad’ sections short and sweet. Not every position on this team can be afforded this, but the tight end group should continue to be the focal point of the Eagles offense in 2021.
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