A Closer Look at the Philadelphia Eagles Tight Ends
A lot of Eagles fans probably have forgotten by now that a lot of talk leading up to the 2009 Draft was regarding if the Birds would select tight end Brandon Pettigrew if he were available.
At the time, many people were still unsure of what Brent Celek could bring to the table. Also, Pettigrew was known to be very good at blocking, which is still a work in progress for Celek.
We all know by now that the Eagles traded up two spots in the draft and selected Jeremy Maclin instead of Pettigrew (who went to the Detroit Lions with the next pick).
Meanwhile, Celek went on to have a stellar season that should have ended with a Pro Bowl selection.
Sometimes, the front office we love to critique actually knows more than the fans. Like the wide receivers, the position of tight end has become one of strength.
Although injuries gave the position a virtual one-man depth chart, it was still very reliable.
The franchise tag placed on L.J. Smith in 2008 seems like eons ago. The decision not to trade for Tony Gonzalez or Kellen Winslow, Jr. looks like a smart move after all.
Now that Celek has established himself as the starter, his backups need to be more reliable. This will give an already potent offense even more options.
1. Brent Celek
Going into this season, I wasn't sure if Celek was going to be consistent as the starting tight end. Now he's considered a stud. I'm disappointed that he didn't make his first Pro Bowl this season.
When Celek injured his shoulder during the 2009 season, it caused a big scare because their options behind him were minimal. Luckily, the injury wasn’t serious and Celek didn’t miss any time.
2. Cornelius Ingram
The 2009 fifth-round draft pick from Florida spent his rookie year on Injured Reserve. Ingram tore the same ACL that he tore his senior year in college.
If Ingram were healthy going into the draft, he likely would have been selected in the first round. If he’s healthy for the 2010 season, the Eagles will have a very lethal tight end tandem.
3. Alex Smith
Smith was signed to fill a roster spot because the Eagles weren't satisfied with Eugene Bright or Tony Curtis. He put up decent numbers when he was in Tampa Bay, but hasn’t done much since.
Smith was traded to New England during last year’s offseason, but didn’t earn the confidence of Bill Belichick. It doesn’t seem like he's earned Andy Reid’s confidence yet, either.
4. Martin Rucker
Rucker was signed by the Eagles to fill up the depth chart. The Cleveland Browns' 2008 fourth-round draft pick from Missouri didn’t make their 2009 roster and was quickly snatched up by Philly.
His skill set isn’t very high right now, but scouting reports still say Rucker has a decent upside.
The biggest concern regarding tight ends is Ingram’s health. After missing two seasons in a row because of the same knee, his ability to be 100 percent is very questionable.
If Ingram’s healthy, the Eagles top two spots will be secured. The Birds normally keep three tight ends.
The third player should be a blocking tight end, in my opinion. Someone like San Diego’s Brandon Manumaleuna would be a good fit if he becomes a free agent.