Zach Ertz to Eagles: How Does Tight End Fit with Philadelphia?

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIApril 26, 2013

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 17: Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Stanford Cardinal runs away from linebacker Boseko Lokombo #25 of the Oregon Ducks with a pass reception in the third quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. Stanford won the game 17-14 in overtime. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles did not pick a quarterback in the second round of the draft, despite having their choice of Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley on the board. Instead they grabbed another offensive player: Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. 

Ertz, who stands 6'5" and weighs close to 250 pounds, will likely challenge for the starting job with veteran Brent Celek, who has disappointed over the past few seasons. 

Ertz isn't particularly fast, but he has excellent size, tremendous size and is extremely physical. That's something that has really been lacking from the Eagles' offense over the past few years. His style of play has been compared to that of future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, an Eagles nemesis for the last decade.

Last year, Ertz caught 69 passes for 898 yards and six touchdowns, a breakout year for the 22-year-old junior. 

New head coach Chip Kelly says that Ertz was the best player on his draft board, and the team had a low first-round grade on him. 

In 2013, expect the Eagles to finally catch up to the rest of the National Football League by utilizing a number of two-tight end sets, featuring a combination of Ertz, Celek, free-agent acquisition James Casey and 2010 fourth-round draft pick Clay Harbor. 

The 35th pick is the first time the Eagles have picked a tight end in one of the top two rounds since they grabbed L.J. Smith late in the second round in 2003. Smith, as Eagles fans will remember, did not live up to his potential in Philadelphia. 

Don't expect Ertz to continue that pattern. After playing in a pro-style offense in Stanford under Jim Harbaugh and with Andrew Luck as his quarterback, he should be NFL-ready and is expected to contribute to the Eagles immediately.