‘Dallas’ is Likely No Fit in Philly
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Even if you can get past the first name South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert probably doesn't make a lot of sense for the Philadelphia Eagles early in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The team's machinations in the free-agency period have left it thin at the tight end position behind Zach Ertz after Trey Burton left for the big money in Chicago and the difficult decision of moving on from the longest-tenured athlete in town, Brent Celek, was made. So, it's a foregone conclusion that the Eagles will be taking someone at the position in the draft and perhaps even two players.
The question is how early will Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas bite and if it's at No. 32 overall, Goedert is regarded as a possibility especially after Philadelphia sent tight ends coach Justin Peelle to South Dakota State's pro day on Friday to get a better look at a prospect many believe is the top tight end in the 2018 class.
The issue comes with fit as Goedert is regarded as more of a modern, detached TE and there is a reason the team's "move" players at the position last season -- Ertz and Burton -- didn't play together all that often.
Consider that Burton only played in 27 percent of the snaps last season and that includes two games where Ertz was hurt, against Denver on Nov. 5 when Burton played in 68 percent of the reps and against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10 when Burton toiled 53 percent of the time, as well as the meaningless Week 17 finale against Dallas where Ertz made a cameo and Burton had a workload that reached 47 percent.
Take those three games out and the move TE behind Ertz played about 20 percent of the time or one in every five offensive snaps.
More so, with Mike Wallace joining Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor at wide receiver for the Eagles, it's hard to imagine Doug Pederson going away from his preferred "11 personnel" alignment (three WRs, one RB, and one TE) in favor of an increased reliance on "12 personnel" (two WRs, two TEs and a RB).
Finally, at 27 the proven Ertz is just entering the prime of his career and is considered a core piece of this team so there is no need to be looking for his eventual successor.
To be fair, at 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, Goedert has the frame to at least develop into a better blocking option than Buron ever was and his ceiling as a player is much greater than Burton's.
A former basketball player, one NFL scout told 973espn.com that Goedert had the best hands in this year's class and already possesses NFL-level tracking skills as a receiver.
It may be fun to dream about Ertz and Goedert on the field at the same time but it isn't all that practical to use a premium pick on a luxury that is on the field 20 to 30 percent of the time even for the Super Bowl champions.
From a draft perspective, it's much easier to find a blocking tight end later in the process and an NFL source has told 973espn.com that the Eagles have shown significant interest in San Diego State tight end David Wells as a potential later-round fit to fill the Celek role, a far bigger need for this team.
Currently, the unproven Billy Brown, former rugby star Adam Zaruba, and Joshua Perkins are on the offseason roster at the position behind Ertz.
The Eagles are very high on the receiving ability of Brown, a former king-sized college receiver (6-foot-4, 255) in college at Shepherd, however, and elevating him to the 20 percent role is probably the better decision.
The summation here is the better look at Goedert had more to do with due diligence than anything else.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen