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Dallas Goedert vs. Gronk Could Spark Generational Shift at TE

The Eagles' tight end has taken his place among the NFL's best and Dallas Goedert could prove that Sunday in Tampa

PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles hope there is a generational shift on Sunday in Tampa from Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert.

Hurts has an opportunity to be very good in the NFL for a long time but the odds are against the second-year player when it comes to living up to the Tom Brady resume of 45 postseason games and 34 wins, which includes seven Super Bowl championships, the last of which came less than a year ago in Super Bowl LV when the Buccaneers upset the Kansas City Chiefs in emphatic fashion.

Gronkowski has helped Brady win four of those Lombardi Trophies as one of the greatest tight ends of all time and, like Brady, is a surefire Hall of Famer.

Both Hurts and Goedert are more focused on Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay defense but they are also cognizant of their mirrors on the other sideline as well.

Goedert, who had had a breakout year after Zach Ertz was traded to Arizona in mid-October, ended the regular season as the third-best TE in the NFL behind Baltimore's Mark Andrews and San Francisco's George Kittle, according to the Pro Football Focus grading system. Gronk was No. 5.

When it comes to the receiving part of the position Goedert was No. 3 behind Kittle and Andrews while Gronk was No. 4.

When it comes to pass blocking among the group the order was Kittle, Andrews, Gronk, and Goedert while run blocking was Andrews, Kittle, Goedert, and Gronk.

That's rarified air for the Eagles' fourth-year TE, who signed a big-money extension in November.

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Performing well on the same stage as Gronk would put another feather in Goedert's cap as perhaps the ascending player at the position.

"For me, he's definitely at the top," Goedert said his Tampa Bay counterpart. "Top two or top three that I feel like has ever played the game. He's an all-around tight end. He's a three-down tight end. He does a great job blocking. He does a great job running his routes. He's fast. He's physical."

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The physical part of Gronkowski's game is what the 6-foot-5, 256-pound Goedert has been drawn to.

"That's probably my favorite thing," the Eagles' star said. "When he gets the ball in his hands, what he does with, you know, defenders don't want to tackle him and he's looking to make the defenders punished. 

"So, that's something that I kind of feel like took out of his book and into mine. And that's kind of what I pride myself in when I get the ball in my hand as well."

Still, Goedert is more focused on Antoine Winfield Jr. or Devin White than Gronkowski.

"I don't really worry too much about what other tight ends are doing," he said. "I love the fact that we get to play good tight ends all year. We got to play a lot of the top tight ends in the NFL and you know, obviously [want] the defense to lock them up, first and foremost, but it's cool to be able to be on the same field as them, watch them when the defense is out there and just kind of see what they're doing.

"You know, to do it in person is a little bit different than watching in film."

Goedert also knows comparisons will be made even if they are not meaningful without context.

"I guess you can compete with yards or catches or who has the better blocks," Goedert said.

And every TE wants to outplay Gronk, a larger-than-life figure who was named one of the most famous athletes in the world by ESPN, had a fictionalized version of himself forever immortalized by "Family Guy," and even once won the WWE 24/7 championship.

"It'd be the first time I get to see Gronk obviously, being a tight end in college, in high school, watching him, he's been great for a long time," Goedert said. "So hopefully our defense holds him in check. He doesn't have a great game against them but really excited to be on the same field."

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.