EAGLES NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: The Tight Ends
As long as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert remain in Philadelphia, tight end is hardly going to be a priority position in the draft for the Eagles.
It is fair to point out that Ertz was one of the players Howie Roseman targeted for extension last season (think Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks) and the only one where that wasn’t accomplished.
“It’s been an incredible seven years for me here,” said Ertz on cleanout day back in January while leaving at least some bread crumbs about the issue. “I want to be here forever, hope I’m able to be here forever, and whatever they decide they’re going to decide.”
Any silly season rumors of Ertz getting moved border on ridiculous, at least until the Eagles are able to fix the receiver position. He’s still under contract for two more seasons and happens to be one of the face of the franchise’s best friends in the locker room, as well as Carson Wentz’s most reliable target in the passing game.
So, as far as the 2020 draft goes, TE may not even be addressed by the Eagles and that’s probably a good thing in a year in which the class is considered thin.
Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet is the most polished option and likely won’t come off the board until the second round at the earliest. It’s at least conceivable he’s pushed down even further and leaped by one of the few more one-dimensional products most scouts have graded below Kmet.
From that standpoint the group is a microcosm of the position in modern football, a lot of glorified receivers who can’t block all that well and a few in-line options who don’t offer much in the receiving game.
For the Eagles, Ertz is only behind George Kittle and Travis Kelce as a receiver in the NFL as a whole and the big-bodied Goedert is already one of those few well-rounded options who can play inline as a Y-back and flex out and still do damage as a receiver.
The depth is relatively solid as well even after letting veteran Richard Rodgers walk in free agency to Washington. Josh Perkins, a former WR in college at the University of Washington, is a solid flex option and Alex Elllis is a versatile blocker who can line up at fullback, H-back and inline.
Competition is always stressed, however, and if Philadelphia can add a body late or as a priority free agent with some upside, expanded practice squads will help make that prospect even easier to stash.
Keep an eye on Charlie Taumoepeau of Portland State, an intriguing small-school prospect who may fall out of the draft due to average size and pedestrian testing numbers. His effort, though, shows up, especially as a blocker.
BUILDING THE PERFECT TE
Route-running - Thaddeus Moss, LSU - Moss got the subtlety gene and the late-hands from his Hall-of-Fame dad.
Release - Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri - Okwuegbunam is the best blend of size and speed to fight off the line inside or flexed.
Hands - Hunter Bryant, Washington - Bryant has the big, sticky mitts in the class.
YAC - Devin Asiasi, UCLA - Asiasi can do some things in the open field with power and athleticism.
Blocking - Kyle Markway, South Carolina - Finding real blocking TEs is becoming more difficult each year and Markway is one of the few that can actually hold up with little help in this class.
Versatility - Cole Kmet, Notre Dame - If you’re looking for a player who can help you in-line and flex out seamlessly, Kmet might be the only real safe option.
EAGLES MAVEN TOP 10:
1. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
2. Hunter Bryant, Washington
3. Devin Asiasi, UCLA
4. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
5. Adam Trautman, Dayton
6. Colby Parkinson, Stanford
7. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
8. Thaddeus Moss, LSU
9. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
10. Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
Sleeper - Charlie Taumoepeau, Portland State
Boom or Bust - Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com. You can listen to John every day at 4 ET on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey and reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen