Two Eagles’ Tight Ends Ranked in the Top 10 of ESPN Poll of NFL Personnel
With an injury forcing Eagles tight end Zach Ertz to miss five games, Dallas Goedert got the opportunity to show what he can do if given the opportunity.
He ended 2020 with 46 receptions for 524 yards and three touchdowns, and he finished with 6.6 targets per game, which would work out to 112 targets over a 17-game season.
Showing that if given the opportunity he can be a top level tight end in the league.
Thats why in ESPN’s poll of NFL executives they rank Goedert as the sixth-best tight end in football heading into 2021, sitting above his current teammate Ertz, who is still ranked in the Top 10, checking in at No. 10 on this list.
Per Pro Football Focus, Goedert is the only tight end in the NFL with receiving and run-blocking grades of 80.0 or higher since 2018. This stat was eye-popping: Goedert reached a maximum speed of 25.34 mph this season, per Next Gen Stats, the second-highest mark of any NFL player.
"He kicked ass when we played them. Tough," said a prominent NFL defensive coach. "He's a handful off the line of scrimmage and downfield."
And his game should get stronger once he's the full-time tight end in Philly. Zach Ertz is still on the Eagles' roster, but the front office has discussed a potential Ertz deal with teams for months.
Goedert, who played 11 games last year, received 10.9% of the Eagles' offensive target but was still second on the team in catches (46) and yards (524), and paced for 67 catches in a bad offense over 16 games.
"Eagles won't be very good, but he'll be a focal point and will do well with that," an NFC exec said. "He's balanced. Does it all."
Goedert could have a much bigger role in the Eagles offense this season, especially if Ertz is no longer here, which remains a possibility. With the team adding DeVonta Smith, along with Miles Sanders, Jalen Reagor and a hopefully a healthy offensive line, Goedert could end up higher on this list in 2022.
As for Ertz, who is still on the Eagles roster, even though most believe the team will end up trading him before the season gets underway, he is still well respected among league circles coming in at No. 10.
Just about everything went wrong for Ertz in 2020, causing a drop in the rankings. First, the contract negotiations that turned bitter. Then the ankle injury. And the Eagles' dreadful offense resulting in Carson Wentz's benching.
One of the game's most productive tight ends in 2018-19 regressed to 9.3 yards per catch and only one touchdown. But there's a ton of pedigree here. Ertz was the No. 3 tight end on this ranking just 12 months ago. And he hasn't forgotten how to play.
"He's probably tired of the bullcrap in Philly," a veteran NFL offensive player said of Ertz. "With a fresh start, he'll still be great."
Ertz would embrace a fresh start, and teams have shown willingness to provide one, but Philadelphia hasn't moved on a deal. His $8.25 million salary is a factor as teams look to save in a crunched post-pandemic salary cap.
A few contenders could use the help.
"Still a productive player, but the explosion and fluidity wasn't all the way there [last year]," an AFC exec said. "Maybe a full offseason to get healthy will help him regain that."
Ertz was limited with an ankle injury in 2020 that forced him to appear in just 11 games, catching only 36 balls on 72 targets for 335 yards and one score. However, it appears that many around the league still believe that Ertz has something left in the tank and can still be a productive player with a fresh start.
There is some interest in the 30-year old Ertz, but it seems the Eagles are not willing to just give away the best tight end in franchise history.