EAGLES

The young Eagles tight end who plans to reinvent himself

EAGLES

Four catches. Twenty-two yards. A long gainer of nine yards.

That could be a single series for Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz.

For Jack Stoll, it was the entire 2021 season.

Stoll made the Eagles last year as an undrafted rookie tight end out of Nebraska, and once the season began he was asked to do one thing.

Block.

Once the Eagles traded Zach Ertz and began running the ball 40 times a game, he became even more valuable as the Eagles' TE2.

Stoll averaged 21 snaps per game last year, but during the late 7-2 stretch that propelled the Eagles into the playoffs, that number increased to 30 snaps per game, which means he was on the field for 46 percent of the Eagles’ offensive plays the second half of the season.

For an undrafted rookie, that’s remarkable. His 331 snaps were the most by any NFL undrafted rookie tight end since Ryan Hewitt of the Bengals played 466 in 2014.

“It was awesome,” Stoll said after practice Thursday. “I just kept getting better every single day, and I hope that showed on the field.

“Obviously, being an undrafted guy, you’re just trying to make the team, and after I did that I focused on doing whatever I could do to find that niche to get on the field. That wasn’t just offense, that was special teams, doing whatever I could, being in coach (Michael) Clay’s office, seeing how I could tighten up the footwork (on special teams).

“And really once you tighten up something, it allows you for more availability everywhere else, and that’s kind of how I looked at it and just kept developing everything I had, and it was awesome being out there and getting snaps and help this team get to the playoffs, especially last year, when nobody thought we would.”

 

All that playing time tells you what a good blocker Stoll is. Because if you’re playing nearly half of a team’s snaps during a playoff run when you’re averaging one catch per month there’s a reason for it.

Last year, being a great blocker and a non-existent receiver was enough for Stoll.

This year, he wants more.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think last year I knew my niche was going to be blocking and that was how I was going to make the team so that was my emphasis, and kind of as the year went on I realized I could develop into being able to catch the ball a little bit more, and that’s really what I focused on at OTAs and this offseason, developing a little more fast-twitch, coming out of breaks faster and really becoming an all-purpose tight end.

“That’s really the goal at the end of the day so I think I’m progressing well. A lot I can still learn. Having a guy like Dallas Goedert in the tight end room, you can just sit there and watch what he does is unbelievable. That’s what I do. Try to learn and absorb as much as I can from him and J-Mike (tight ends coach Jason Michael).

"Everyone in that tight ends room can run routes, so it’s just great absorbing what I can from them and hopefully I’m doing the same for them, too.”

So far so good.

Stoll caught the ball very well the first week of training camp, and while he’ll never be an Ertz or Goedert, he knows that being able to do both - block and catch - means more playing time.

“Listen, I’ll do whatever will help the team win at this point,” he said. “If that means going out there and catching a couple balls, that would be great. Obviously, every tight end wants to be able to do both. 

“But at the end of the day, as long as I’m here helping the team win ball games? Trust me, I’d rather win every single game than go out there and have a catch every single game. So as long as we keep winning football games, I couldn’t care less.”

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