Zach Ertz is a solid tight end. That doesn’t mean that the Philadelphia Eagles will neglect the position in the draft next month. In fact, a case could be made that they spend a top-100 pick on the position.
The Eagles have addressed their offense heavily this offseason. Signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith bolsters a dull receiving corps. Restricted free agent tight end Trey Burton was tendered at a second round valuation. Additionally, the aforementioned Ertz restructured his contract to give the team more salary cap flexibility.
Yep, the Eagles have addressed their pass catching situation in almost every possible way. Targeting a running back and bolstering the secondary appears to be logical draft protocol. Except, the team might not be done after all.
Brent Celek will be entering his 11th season, all with the Eagles. Last season, Celek’s role in the offense was as relevant as an Adam Sandler movie at the Oscars. The tight end’s role in the offense was anything but irrelevant however.
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Using Warren Sharp’s personnel grouping frequency data from last season (a fantastic tool), the Eagles used “13 personnel” fourth most in the NFL. That involves one running back and three tight ends. The Eagles led the NFL in snap percentage in “12 personnel”, which uses two tight ends.
Nearly 40% of the Eagles red zone snaps involved two or three tight ends on the field. Unfortunately for Carson Wentz, the Eagles offense continued an age old tradition of throwing more than running in those situations.
Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple. He enjoys throwing the football a lot. So that begs the question: Is too much of a good thing ever a bad thing?
In case you haven’t heard, this year’s draft class has exceptional talent at tight end. The Eagles have kicked the tires on a few prospects already. According to Tommy Lawlor’s most updated list, thus far the Eagles have had workouts and/or meetings with Blake Jarwin, Michael Roberts, and Adam Shaheen.
All three of those tight ends bring a different dimension to the football field. One common trait is tremendous raw athleticism. None of those three will be selected with the 14th overall pick. However, a player such as Shaheen could see his name called in the middle of the second round.
Shaheen has begun to draw the attention of the Dallas Cowboys as well. They’re not alone either. Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Philadelphia, Dallas and Tennessee all set up private workouts with the young tight end. At 6’6, Shaheen would be a phenomenal pairing with Jeffery in the red zone. No way could Wentz miss those guys in the end zone, right?