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Zach Ertz: How Will Eagles' Newest Tight End Fare in the Pros?

PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 06: Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass for a touchdown past safety Patrick Onwuasor #4 of the Arizona Wildcats during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

With the 35th pick in the draft, the Eagles select Stanford tight end Zach Ertz

Ertz is the second tight end off the board, behind Tyler Eifert, who was selected by the Bengals in the first round.

 

Pro Outlook

Ertz excelled in the Pac-12, where he was a difficult matchup for linebackers and safeties due to his height and speed. But by NFL standards, Ertz's athleticism is anything but special and it's tough to see how he fits into Chip Kelly's offense. 

Tight ends who are 6'5" seem to grow on trees in the NFL, and many of them can run and jump, too. Ertz, however, will strictly be a possession receiver and will struggle to shake man coverage when matched up with the elite coverage linebackers and safeties. 

Ertz may also need to be taken off the field in certain situations due to his below-average blocking skills.

 

Fantasy Outlook

The Eagles don't have an obvious go-to target in the red zone, which could make Ertz a solid fantasy option. 

Don't expect Rob Gronkowski-like numbers, because he will never post that type of yardage, but he could be a decent option if he can become a favorite target of Michael Vick in the red zone.

 

Roster Outlook

With Brent Celek and James Casey already on the roster, the Eagles will likely use a lot of two-tight-end sets and frequently line one of them up as a halfback. 

Due to the crowded depth chart, Ertz will probably see limited playing time early in his career, but Kelly will design specific plays to utilize his strengths in the passing game.

 

Pick Analysis

Ertz's draft stock was blown out of proportion by the mainstream media due to his impressive statistics at Stanford. In reality, the gap between Eifert and Ertz is fairly significant due to differences in athleticism and blocking ability. 

In the fast-paced Chip Kelly offense, it's difficult to see how a stiff possession receiver fits into the picture. 

Grade: C

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