Trey Burton could be heading for bigger Offensive role, but not as a tight end

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With the Eagles expected to announce their intake of undrafted rookie free agents shortly, many are excited to see how the remaining roster spots are filled. One of the names rumored to have signed with the Eagles is former LSU tight end Dillon Gordon.

With Gordon signed, the Eagles now have five tight ends on the roster having signed Chris Pantale back in January. What does this mean? To me, it’s an obvious sign that Trey Burton is moving position. Signing one tight end can be put down to depth, but signing an undrafted rookie to make the TE position one of the more densely populated on the roster? That implies there’s a plan in place..and Trey Burton could well be a part of that plan.

There has been talk of Burton being utilized as a fullback and with the release of Ryan Mueller less than a month after signing him..it’s certainly likely..but moving him to Wide Receiver is the more probable option and here’s why.

Remember Riley Cooper? No matter how unproductive he appeared to be on the surface, he always managed to earn his stripes as a “blocking receiver” as well as catching some deep passes after breaking away from unsuspecting defenders. Well, Trey Burton has a lot of similarities with the former Eagles receiver.

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A near enough identical frame and a faster 40-yard dash time from Burton sees him almost a perfect candidate to replace Cooper. “But Liam, why would they move a Tight End to the outside after bolstering the unit during free agency?”

Despite the recent additions, the wide receiver position still lacks bonafide starters when you remove Jordan Matthews and Reuben Randle from the equation. Josh Huff is in a position where he simply has to perform now that his College Coach Chip Kelly has sought greener grass in San Francisco and the world is still waiting to see what kind of potential Nelson Agholor has been hiding from the world.

Then there are the new signings. Chris Givens has a great shot at making the roster, but that doesn’t mean he has an easy route to a confirmed spot whilst T.J Graham is the lowest paid receiver on the roster (currently) and his contract isn’t exactly indispensable.In his short stints with the Jets and the Saints, Graham caught just seven passes. Graham is seen as a budget option to fill the Eagles need for a deep-threat receiver, but with so many wideouts competing for roster spots..his future is anything but certain.

Below Matthews and Randle, it’s an open competition for the remaining Eagles receivers to show what they can do and earn a spot on the roster. A perfect opportunity for Trey Burton to show just how deserving he is in a bigger role on the Eagles Offense.

Not only did he lead the Eagles in special teams tackles last season, but Burton displayed his ability to make big catches as a tight end.

Partner this with the three catches out of four targets he made in 2015 and his explosive pre-season game against the Packers in which he caught two touchdowns and the end result is a potential wide receiver in the making.

Interestingly, the Florida star also played as a Wide Receiver back in 2013, receiving for over 400 yards and a touchdown.

And then of course, there’s the arrival of Doug Pederson. Kansas City ran a very Tight-End friendly Offense in 2015 which saw Travis Kelce catch 5 touchdowns en route to a 875 yard season.

How does that impact a potential move for Trey Burton? Kelce has lined up in the slot and as both a number one and a number two receiver. With Ertz emerging as one of Bradford’s favourite targets towards the end of last season, it’s easy to envision Pederson trying to implement the same kind of gameplan in Philadelphia. Even if he doesn’t, it’s hard to imagine Pederson overlooking both the potential and ability of Burton after making Kelce such a focal point of the Offense in Kansas.

Pederson likes the bigger, tougher receivers who possess enough speed to separate efficiently and make the important catches deep down the field. How do we know this? Let’s look at the same attributes of the three undrafted rookie free agents expected to sign with the Eagles.

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If you’re still not 100% sold, here’s how Burton compares to last year’s notable Chiefs wideouts that had a strong season under Andy Reid and Doug Pederson.

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Burton would not look out of place on this roster in the slightest. He may be a little heavier, but his 40-yard dash time more than makes up for it. In terms of a prototypical Doug Pederson wide receiver, Burton doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Celek and Ertz are about as solid as you can get when it comes to a tight end tandem. Consistent, explosive and effective in multiple areas, Burton has spent his time in Philadelphia as a backup to two of the most reliable tight ends in the conference. After displaying phenomenal athleticism on special teams, an eyebrow raising performance in pre-season and catching an impressive pass against the Lions during the regular season, Pederson may see enough unused potential to warrant moving him to the outside.

The Eagles don’t need five tight ends on the roster. They do need help and consistency at the wide receiver position however and with Pederson’s admiration and utilization of Travis Kelce in 2015..don’t be surprised if you see Trey Burton competing for a wide receiver spot as opposed to another year as backup to the ever consistent Brent Celek and explosive Zach Ertz.

 

 

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