Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni on Draftee Grant Calcaterra: ‘Now We Are Unique’
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseamn was wheeling and dealing during the three day NFL Draft.
The team entered with 10 overall selections and ended the weekend with five overall picks.
When their final pick was announced on Saturday afternoon, SMU tight end Grant Calcaterra was still on the board and the Eagles made sure to grab Jalen Hurts former teammate at Oklahoma.
"They have a rapport already," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni reminded people. "They have done it together, and Jalen has thrown him some meaningful passes in meaningful games."
“He is an outstanding ‘F’ tight end," explained Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl. "Really good in the passing game in terms of route running, catching the football, separating, getting down the field. He has really good play speed. Really smart football player. Just reads coverages, can cover for us in zone and man, and catches the football clean. So, we are excited to have him as well.”
Instead of adding a perceived position of need, most notably corner of safety, Roseman stuck with the best available prospect on their board.
The defense still needs a corner opposite starter Darius Slay and they could use another safety to play with Anthony Harris, but quarterback Jalen Hurts has yet another weapon to incorporate in the Eagles offense that already added A.J. Brown this weekend moving forward.
“That was definitely something that really is going to help our offense. They are not going to be able to just key in on Dallas or key in on DeVonta or key in on Quez. Now there's another guy in the mix that they are going to have to take away,” Sirianni said.
“Just very pleased with the direction our offense is going."
Calcaterra, who is familiar with Hurts from their time together at Oklahoma, was the 15th tight end to be drafted this week, but that draft spot, doesn't speak for his abilities.
"I'm so excited to get back playing with Jalen," Calcaterra acknowledged. "He was a great teammate at Oklahoma. We’re definitely good friends. I have a ton of respect for him as a player, off the field as well. Yeah, just at Oklahoma it was evident how he was a leader so fast, coming in as a transfer and excited to get to work with him."
"I've kept in touch with him a little bit in my journey back to playing. Just got off the phone with him five minutes ago. I'm so excited to get back playing with him."
While his stats don't jump off the page, posting a 38 catch, 465 yard and four touchdown receiving line, Calcaterra displayed the size, speed, and receiving ability to make an impact as a pass-catching tight end at the NFL level.
“I think I'm a tight end that can do a lot of different things." said Calcaterra. "I think I'm a versatile player. Excited to get to work and excited to learn. I'm excited to get better.”
Above all else, Calcaterra can depth and competition to the Eagles tight end room that is led by Dallas Goedert.
Head coach Nick Sirianni said that while Goedert is clearly the main man, adding a player with the skill-set of Calcaterra can open up the playbook.
"Just really excited about him and his ability to be able to play that F-tight end and let us be in some 12 personnel," Sirianni explained. "Now, we are unique. We are very unique because I think we have a top-five tight end in the NFL on our team with Dallas Goedert, but this will help us a little bit with some of the 12 personnel."