Assessing The Eagles: Tight EndBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Current Status– The Philadelphia Eagles for some fans, did not maximize all of the tight-end talent in 2013. Some would question why bring a guy like James Casey into Philadelphia, pay him well for the versatility he demonstrated in Houston, only to draft another tight-end in the second round when there were so many glaring defensive holes left to fill.
Casey was not the “jack-of-all-trades” player we expected. Celek was relied on heavily as a blocker and became more of a possession receiver then a stretch the field type player. Ertz came on strong during the second half of the season, showing some athleticism that supported drafting him as high as we did. No “clear” reason for why Casey was used sparingly in the passing game by Chip, but for whatever reason; it just didn’t happen. What should the Eagles do next season? If they couldn’t find a way to
utilize all three tight-ends last season, should they bring them all back in 2014?
Brent Celek– Not the best of hands, but the guy is tough as nails. Rarely do you see the first defender bringing Celek down after the catch. His worth to the team as a vocal leader and locker room guy is something that Chip really appreciates with his men. Celek will be back next season.
Zach Ertz- A small sample of what this kid can do in a Chip Kelly system was on display in 2013. Ertz will only benefit from a full off-season; and the Eagles upgrading their speed at the WR position to free up additional space in the middle of the field for Ertz to do his thing. Ertz can be used in many of the same ways the Saint deploy Jimmy Graham. Ertz is smooth with his route running and meets the ball in the air out-positioning the defender. Expectations for a sophomore season with the snaps he is sure to earn.
(2014 projections: 55 reception 725yards and 6-8 touchdowns.)
James Casey– Whether Casey makes the team next year might have to do with the status of Riley Cooper returning to Philadelphia. We are all calling for the big/physical wide-receiver, but if Kelly is using two and sometimes three tight-end sets, your bigger receivers are taken care by this position group. The cap penalty if we just cut Casey makes less sense then actually keeping him. He was signed by the Eagles in the 2013 off-season for a reason; the kid has a special skill-set.
Recommendation: See if a team like the Patriots would be interested in bringing one on board. The draft pick in return is going to be a 6th rounder at best, but that cap space can be used in the area that is of biggest need, “DEFENSE.”
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