Breaking Down the Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Depth Chart

John McGonigalCorrespondent IIMay 23, 2013

May 10, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles second round draft pick tight end Zach Ertz (86) addresses the media during rookie minicamp at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of the New England Patriots, the tight end position hasn't been extremely featured in offenses across the NFL

Sure other primetime targets like Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez have made indelible marks on their respective teams, but—generally speaking—great production from tight end is a commodity, not a necessity around the league. 

For the Eagles, Brent Celek put up a modest 57 receptions and Clay Harbor chipped in 25 snags, but they combined for just three touchdowns in 2012. 

And while Celek was the second-most targeted pass catcher for Philadelphia last season, it seems as though new head coach Chip Kelly wants the tight end role to increase under his reign. 

By acquiring James Casey in free agency and stealing Zach Ertz in the NFL Draft's second round, it's obvious Kelly wants to make things happen at tight end. 

But how exactly will things shape out between Celek, Ertz and Casey?

In Celek's case, some may believe his days in Philadelphia are numbered. 

After bringing in the other two aforementioned targets, it's not irrational to think that he may be an extra part. 

But while his production numbers are likely to dip, Celek should have solid footing in terms of playing time. 

He's certainly not the most athletic guy on the field, but Celek has made his money by outmuscling guys and using his large frame to seal defenders in the short passing game. 

It's occasional to see him stretch it down the field, and he's obviously capable of doing so. 

However, Kelly may want to use his husky frame (6'4'', 255 pounds) in the short, quick-hit passing game. Again, he'd shield defenders from deflecting those intermediate passes and could drag them for some yards after contact. 

On the other hand, Ertz is a young kid from Stanford who loves to create mismatches in the vertical passing game. 

Kelly, Oregon's former coach who saw Ertz rip apart the Pac-12, called the Cardinal a "mismatch nightmare."

And take out of it what you will, but ESPN's Sal Paolantonio called Ertz "the next Rob Gronkowski."

Ertz, who wanted to play basketball collegiately, has the natural athleticism to beat up corners and blow by safeties off the ball and in the air.

While at Stanford, he was used more like a wide receiver by coach David Shaw as he hauled in 898 yards (first in NCAA among tight ends) on 69 receptions (tied for first among NCAA tight ends).

Unfortunately, Ertz hasn't participated in OTAs because Stanford hasn't held its graduation ceremonies yet. 

But if his performances at Stanford are any indication, the projected first-round pick could be a destructive force for NFC defenses to deal with.

Just like in Ertz's case, Casey's on-field presence won't be available for a little bit. It was announced recently that Casey underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that'll hold him out until the beginning of training camp.

Regardless, Casey's contributions to the Houston Texans last year are on tape, but may have went under the radar. The 6'3'' fullback-tight end hybrid added versatility to the Texans passing game, chipping in 34 receptions, 330 yards and three touchdowns. 

Casey can do so much for an offense whether it be blocking, lining up as a tight end or coming out of the backfield. This considered, it wouldn't be surprising if Kelly had the most fun with Casey. 

Kelly is a schemer, so the adaptability Casey provides will likely have him itching with excitement. It makes sense considering Casey was signed less than a month after Kelly came to Philadelphia.

With all this considered, to put together a depth chart for these three might be premature. Heck, situational play may not even warrant a depth chart.

But for traditionalist reasons, here's a depth chart given all that was said:

1. Zach Ertz

2. James Casey

3. Brent Celek