Over the next three weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 20 most important Eagles for the 2021 season.
6. Dallas Goedert
As he enters a contract season, Dallas Goedert appears to be on the cusp of a breakout year.
It feels like this could be the season where the talented tight end finally puts it all together and solidifies himself as one of the top tight ends in the NFL. If he does, he’ll cash in and follow up his rookie contract with a mega deal.
Goedert, 26, was a second-round pick back in 2018 and he’s been a very good player since he entered the NFL. Even last year, when he was limited to 11 games, he still caught 46 passes for 524 yards and 3 touchdowns. He hasn’t put up huge statistics in his first three years in the league, but with his unique blend of receiving talent and blocking prowess, Goedert is already one of the best dual-threat tight ends in the NFL.
And some of his lack of offensive statistics can probably be attributed to the presence of Zach Ertz and the decimation of the offensive line, especially last year. Goedert is such a good blocker, the Eagles utilize him at the line of scrimmage, which means fewer routes. Fewer routes, means fewer catches.
But ProFootballFocus takes into account blocking as well as receiving and they’ve had Goedert pretty high in their rankings since he entered the league (minimum 20 targets):
This season, it still seems likely that Ertz will be gone by the time the season starts. But even if Ertz is still here, Goedert has earned the role of being the top tight end in the Eagles’ offense as Nick Sirianni takes over.
And the offensive line figures to be much better in 2021 than it was last year when the injuries piled up. There ought to be a pretty good chance that Goedert will be able to leave the line of scrimmage more often this season.
Goedert and Ertz are very different players. It would be hard for Goedert to ever duplicate Ertz’s pure production. From 2015-19, Ertz averaged 86.2 catches per season. That’s insane and expecting Goedert to ever catch that many balls per season would be silly. But Goedert does have more explosive and YAC traits and was a better blocker than Ertz from Day 1.
George Kittle, when healthy, is considered by many to be the best tight end in the NFL. I’m not comparing them, but Goedert does have some of those traits.
Goedert has also shown plenty of confidence in his ability over the years too.
“Year 4 is crazy,” Goedert said this offseason. “The first three years flew by. Looking forward to this Year 4. Where I rank? We’ve got a lot of good tight ends in the league. I think I’m up there at the top.”
If Goedert can stay healthy, he might put together a special season in 2021 that will warrant a big time contract if one doesn’t get done before then.
Right now, there are five tight ends with contracts averaging over $10 million per season: Kittle ($15M), Travis Kelce ($14.3M), Hunter Henry ($12.5M), Jonnu Smith ($12.5M) and Austin Hooper ($10.5M). Goedert will find himself in that group soon if he has the type of season he’s capable of in 2021.
It really just seems like things are aligning for Goedert this year. Not only will Ertz either be gone or the No. 2 and the OL will be healthier, but Sirianni is bringing in an offense in which tight ends are utilized and the Eagles are starting a second-year quarterback. Generally, young quarterbacks tend to lean on tight ends.
In three starts with Hurts last season, Goedert had 11 catches on 17 targets for 120 yards, but those were three of his highest PFF grades of the season.
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