PHILADELPHIA – One of the great unknowns for the Eagles as the 2021 NFL Draft draws closer is what will happen with Zach Ertz.
It seemed a foregone conclusion that the three-time Pro Bowl tight end would be traded to another team this offseason. Well, the offseason is still ongoing, but spring is here and so is Ertz.
The opinion is that he will be moved during the draft or sometime afterward once teams take stock of the picks they made and see what they still need to add to the roster.
It’s unlikely the Eagles will hold on to him, but general manager Howie Roseman made it clear he isn’t going to just give him away, which would also seem to rule out his being released.
“For us to trade any player, it's got to make sense for both sides,” Roseman said last month. “It's got to make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles, too because none of us have the year that we wanted last year, but that doesn't define who we are, who we are in our jobs. We know who he is. We know who he is both on and off the field. We value that.
“Anything that we do with any of our players is going to be based on anything that helps the Philadelphia Eagles, as well.”
Whether the Eagles can find a trade partner or not will impact their decision in the draft.
Do they spend one of their early picks in a draft in which they own 11 selections, or do they wait until Saturday when they own seven picks over the final four rounds?
There is also some uncertainty surrounding Dallas Goedert, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract scheduled to pay him $1.24 in base salary.
Will the Eagles give him an extension at some point between now and the end of the season or will they let him become a free agent?
Despite missing five games with an ankle injury, Goedert still had 46 catches for 524 yards and three touchdowns.
With or without Ertz, it’s still a wide-open race for a roster spot that will likely get more crowded when the Eagles take one in the draft.
EAGLES DEPTH CHART:
Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Hakeem Butler, Caleb Wilson, Jason Croom, Tyree Jackson.
BUILDING THE PERFECT TIGHT END:
Route-running – Brevin Jordan, Miami-Florida: Jordan has the speed and quickness to separate from a defender and is considered a smooth route runner, with the ability to glide through a secondary and use his athleticism to get open and with enough burst and agility to get in and out of his pattern breaks to get open.
Hands – Hunter Long, Boston College: Long does a nice job winning contested catches, mostly with his soft, reliable hands, but he also uses good concentration, body control, and awareness to wall off defenders.
YAC - Pat Freiermuth, Penn State: His yards after the catch doesn’t come with speed, but by running over people.
Blocking – Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame: He has been called the single best blocker on the move in this draft class. Plays with a nastiness that shows itself in his blocking, a punisher at the point of attack. He scored a run blocking grade of 83.7 this season, the best of any TE in the nation.
Versatility – Kyle Pitts, Florida: There isn’t much this Gators product can’t do, except perhaps block with efficiency, a skill that will likely come to fruition with time to develop. He was called a unicorn by his head coach, Dan Mullen, meaning he is a rare talent. He has great hands, a knack for yards after the catch, with a YAC of 6.0 on his 43 receptions in 2020, and can flex outside as a receiver, play in-line, or drop into the slot.
EAGLE MAVEN TOP 10:
Kyle Pitts, Florida
Pat Freiermuth, Penn State
Brevin Jordan, Miami-Florida
Hunter Long, Boston College
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
Tre McKitty, Goergia
Tony Poljan, Virginia
Kenny Yaboah, Mississippi/Temple
Kylen Granson, SMU
Quintin Morris, Bowling Green
Sleeper: John Bates, Boise State
Boom or bust: Brevin Jordan, Miami-Florida
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.
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