Dallas Goedert

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

Is Dallas Goedert the Eagles’ most underrated player?

The folks over at ProFootballFocus recently put together a list of the most underrated player on each of the 32 NFL rosters and the choice for the Eagles wasn’t a very surprising one. 

For the Eagles, they listed tight end Dallas Goedert, the former second-round pick who will enter Year 3 of his career in 2020. 

Here’s what PFF said about Goedert: 

When you enter the NFL in the shadow of one of the league’s best tight ends, it’s easy to be somewhat overlooked. That is the case with Goedert, who was immediately thrust into a role as TE2 despite being taken in the second round out of South Dakota State. The Eagles have run a heavy dose of two tight end sets to get both him and Zach Ertz on the field, and it’s pretty clear from those snaps that Goedert is a top-end TE in the NFL.

“Since 2018, Goedert actually ranks fifth among qualifying tight ends in overall grade, ahead of Ertz. A big reason — outside of the obvious mismatch threats he poses as a receiver — is his elite play as a blocker for the position. Goedert’s 81.4 run-blocking grade sits sandwiched between Maxx Williams and George Kittle for second at the position over that same span. He is a complete tight end who would be a high-level primary option on most rosters in the NFL.

All of that is fair. And from a national perspective, I’m sure Goedert is very underrated. I don’t think he’s as underrated in Philadelphia, where Eagles fans get to watch him every weekend. 

In his first two seasons, Goedert has 91 catches for 941 yards and nine touchdowns. He made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and he’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. So he’s a really well-rounded tight end. 

And his numbers aren’t that far off from what Zach Ertz did in his first two NFL seasons: 

Ertz: 94 catches, 1,171 yards, 7 touchdowns

Goedert: 91 catches, 941 yards, 9 touchdowns 

Heck, Goedert has been so good that he has some fans wondering if the Eagles should move on from Ertz at some point. 

So maybe from a national perspective, Goedert is underrated. But here in Philly, I don’t think he is. 

The two players I think are underrated locally are Isaac Seumalo and Derek Barnett. Neither guy is a star but both are better players than they get for. 

Seumalo has had two horrendous games in his career and it has really tainted the perception of his play. But aside from those games, he’s been a solid player. He’s still  just 26 and has become a pretty good starting left guard. 

And Barnett hasn’t lived up to his draft status as the 14th pick but he’s been better than you think when he’s on the field. The injuries are a concern, but since Barnett was drafted in 2017 he’s third on the team in sacks (14) behind Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox and second in QB hits (49) behind just Cox. And he is still just 23!

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Are the 2020 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

Are the 2020 Eagles better or worse at tight end?

Executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman says the Eagles are a better football team after free agency and the draft. We're putting his claim to the test, breaking down the depth chart position by position to examine whether the roster really improved or actually took a step back this offseason.

Up next: the tight end position, which returns almost the exact cast from 2019 pretty much in its entirety.

Better

Dallas Goedert took a huge leap late in his second season. Maybe it was just part of the natural trajectory of a second-round pick. Maybe it was because the Eagles didn't have many other weapons in the passing attack. Either way, Goedert's final six games were especially encouraging.

After recording 31 catches for 289 yards with two fumbles over the Eagles' first 11, Goedert finished strong, racking up 34 catches for 391 yards with no turnovers in December and January, including a 7-for-73 line against Seattle in the postseason. He also scored five touchdowns on the year. Goedert's earlier pedestrian production was normal for a young tight end, but he appears poised for a breakout.

Worse

The Eagles must feel Goedert and Zach Ertz aren't going anywhere any time soon. That, or they really like Josh Perkins, because the club didn't address the position in any meaningful way this offseason. Maybe doing nothing isn't a step back exactly given the talent at the top of the depth chart. Still, teams don't often improve by standing still.

With Ertz's contract about to become a topic of conversation — 2020 is the last year with guaranteed money — it wouldn't be a bad idea to develop another reliable target. Then again, perhaps that is more of an issue for Eagles Better or Worse 2021.

The same

Speaking of Ertz, while he didn't match or exceed his record-breaking output from the previous campaign, 2019 was just another solid year with 88 catches, 916 yards and six scores. That was with defenses able to key on the tight end, too, because of the dearth of talent on the outside.

Ertz will turn 30 in November, and because he's a high-volume producer — 204 catches the last two seasons, and 70-plus five years in a row — one might wonder how much longer he'll be at the top of his game. For now, he remains one of the top-five tight ends in the league. Goedert's ascent should help keep Ertz fresh, while the three-time Pro Bowler would likely benefit from the Eagles finding a good receiver or two.

The unknown

Will the Eagles carry three tight ends, and if they do, could Perkins be active on game days? It's not that much of a stretch.

Though he's bounced between the practice squad and main roster the last two years, Perkins has produced when given the opportunity. He posted four catches for 57 yards against the Bucs in Week 2 of 2018, and hauled in four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 17 last season. Perkins will be 27, has 4.6 speed to go with prototypical size and can contribute on special teams. Carrying three tight ends isn't a foreign concept to the Eagles, either, as they did it for Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton in 2017.

Better or worse?

Obviously, there's not a lot different here, but that doesn't mean the situation remains completely static. Goedert's stock appears to be rising quickly, and the possibility Perkins could crack the main roster full-time would be a lift. With no meaningful decline anticipated for Ertz, there's reason for mild optimism here.

Better

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JJ Arcega-Whiteside talks trade rumors, injuries, and Carson Wentz relationship

JJ Arcega-Whiteside talks trade rumors, injuries, and Carson Wentz relationship

JJ Arcega-Whiteside had a rocky transition to the NFL in 2019, never meshing in Doug Pederson's offense. The rookie caught just 10 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, not what you're looking for from a second-round pick.

With the Eagles overhauling the wide receiver position, his place in the team's future isn't exactly clear.

In a new interview with Spanish football podcast 100 Yardas, Arcega-Whiteside sat down for a lengthy interview in which he touched on, among other things, his rookie year and what the future holds.

I've transcribed a few interesting answers from the hour-plus interview below.

On his own injury struggles

Arcega-Whiteside talked about his, and the entire wide receiver room's, battles with injuries at multiple points in the interview, including this wild answer about needing help to go to the bathroom in the morning becaus he was so banged-up:

JJAW: Las lesiones fue el problema más grande. Porque yo estaba lesionado y las lesiones de todos los demás, porque yo también tenía algunas de lesiones, pero no tan mal con los otros. Aun así, cada mañana tenía que pedir a alguien que me ayudara a ir al baño, así de mal estaba.

INTERVIEWER: ¿En serio?

JJAW: Si, me costaba andar.

Arcega-Whiteside said he needed help because he couldn't walk, which sounds rough, and even though he was active for all 16 regular season games in 2019, it sounds like the physical nature of the league threw Arcega-Whiteside for a loop.

His relationship with Wentz

Arcega-Whiteside was asked about his relationship with Carson Wentz, after the two appeared to struggle to get on the same page for most of the season.

Estamos bien. Hemos estado hablando todo este tiempo. Él ha tenido una hija hace poco. Me ha estado dando consejos sobre perros. Estamos bien.

Pero sí, todo este tiempo ha sido difícil para mí y difícil también para él, porque él tiene sus jugadores, con los que ha estado jugando los últimos años, los All-Stars, los Pro Bowlers, luego las lesiones y yo también lesionado. Es difícil confiar en cualquier otro, si yo hubiera sido él también habría estado mirando a Zach Ertz y Dallas todo el tiempo.

Arcega-Whiteside says, because of injuries and inconsistency, it was tough to form on-field trust with Wentz. So he understood why Wentz threw to guys like Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, and he would've as well.

Trade rumors, and his happiness in Philadelphia

Arcega-Whiteside was asked about a number of trade rumors that swirled during the season - some, the interviewers admitted, were ideas from blogs rather than sourced reports - and whether he's happy in Philadelphia:

INTERVIEWER: ¿Tú estás contento en Filadelfia?

JJAW: Sí. Yo no he hablado con ningún equipo porque no funciona así. Me acuerdo de que después de algunos partidos de la preseason había equipos preguntando por mí. Pero claro, yo había firmado con Filadelfia.

Eso fue bueno, todavía hay interés, creo, pero por ahora estoy en Filadelfia. Me encanta la ciudad, la gente, son los fans más agresivos del mundo, en cualquier que deporte.

Arcega-Whiteside says that he remembers, after his productive preseason games last year, teams were asking about his availability, but he likes being in Philadelphia and loves the fans, who he thinks are the most aggressive in the world, in any sport.

With Jalen Reagor and Marquise Goodwin now in the fold, DeSean Jackson back healthy, and Alshon Jeffery possibly returning for another season, Arcega-Whiteside will have to make some serious strides in Year Two if he expects to have a more productive 2020.

We'll see.

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