Pro Football Focus released its ranking of the 15 best tight ends in the NFL on Wednesday, and somehow the decision to place Rob Gronkowski at No. 3 is only the second-boldest move on the list.
The boldest? Placing Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 6 in the league - and ahead of Zach Ertz.
Eagles fans know the Birds probably have the league's best tight end duo, and 2020 should be a big year for Goedert. But placing the third-year tight end in front of Ertz, a perennial Pro Bowler coming off the second-best season of his career? Hmm.
Let's go to the list for some explanation:
6. DALLAS GOEDERT
The best tight end on the Eagles’ roster heading into 2020 is not Zach Ertz. Despite the receiving totals pointing pretty clearly to Ertz being the better player in Philadelphia, it’s actually Goedert who graded out as the better receiver in 2019. Goedert’s size and athleticism make him dangerous in one-on-one situations, evident in his receiving grade against single coverage that ranked near the top of the list this past season.
He just needs more opportunities in a featured role, because the talent is there.
7. ZACH ERTZ
Many would rank Ertz as high as third on this list, so I’ll start this out by explaining a little bit why he comes in at just seventh. Primarily, he isn’t nearly as dynamic as some of these other guys with the ball in his hands.
Sandwiched between Antonio Gates (36 years old at the start of this stretch) and Jason Witten (34 years old) is not where you want to be as one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL in your prime.
It's hard to say these evaluations are far off. I'd venture to guess most Eagles fans, and most football observers, expect Goedert to overtake Ertz as the team's TE1 at some point in the next few years. Goedert is more athletic than Ertz, he's already a well-rounded player, and Ertz isn't getting any younger.
And the criticisms of Ertz - his relative lack of game-breaking athleticism compared to a George Kittle or Travis Kelce, and his constant inability to break tackles - hold true, as they have for years.
But predicting Goedert moving ahead of Ertz this year? That's gutsy!
I think a lot of folks missed Goedert's sneakily productive season in 2019 - 58 catches, 607 yards, and five touchdowns - and we'll likely see Goedert play even more in 2020. His targets (87) didn't match Ertz's receptions (88) last year, so this might feel like a reach for a one-year change. But the role switch for TE1 and TE2 also might be closer than we think.
And if Goedert does take a big leap in 2020, that might make Howie Roseman think twice about extending Zach Ertz. The veteran tight end, possibly the best in franchise history, said this week he wants to remain an Eagle forever.
If Goedert overtakes Ertz in productivity this year, as PFF thinks will happen, Ertz might have to take a discount to stick around in midnight green when his contract is up after the 2021 season.
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