Zach Ertz is heading into this 8th season with the Eagles and has been a franchise cornerstone for the team ever since he stepped on the field. Ertz has delivered in crucial moments for the birds. From delivering a game-changing touchdown in the final minutes of the Super Bowl, to even risking his career last season to be out there for his team when he suffered a lacerated kidney and fractured ribs against the Cowboys. But somehow, Ertz is still looked at as either the 3rd best TE in the league or the 4th best to some.
How could this be? How could the Tight End that beat Jason Witten’s single-season receptions record be overlooked? How could a player that has had 70+ receptions and 800+ yards in five consecutive seasons be that forgotten? Sure, Ertz isn’t the rockstar tight end that George Kittle is or the flashy athlete that Travis Kelce is, but he provides more than just “looks” when it comes to the game of football.
In his first seven seasons, Ertz leads his peers in receptions with 525 while Travis Kelce follows close behind with 507, and Gronkowski follows him with 405. While Gronk has the least amount of receptions in the group, he leads the trio in touchdowns with an absurd amount at 68 touchdowns. Let’s take a look as to why though, Gronk has always had Brady at the helm while Ertz has juggled with Foles, Wentz, Bradford, and even Mark Sanchez. Yes, Mark was once an Eagle, please don’t dwell on that.
Although, Ertz is trailing the flashy Kelce by only two touchdowns with 35 career touchdowns. Kelce himself has juggled between QB’s as well but that’s neither here or there. Out of the three, Ertz does have the least amount of yards as he trails Gronk and Kelce with 5,743. Still, at this point in his career, Ertz has more receptions and yards than Tony Gonzalez had in his first seven seasons. That’s great company to be surrounded by.
As far as George Kittle goes, he only has 12 touchdowns in his three-year career so far. So is it even fair to consider him to be in competition with Ertz and Kelce? No. Kelce and Ertz are in elite company and who knows what will be seeing out Gronk next season in Tampa. Let’s not forget about the back injuries he was dealing with before he retired.
Ertz is entering his 8th season and is going into it with more weapons around him but that won’t hurt. Instead, take a look at the Eagles did last season in comparison to what they added this offseason. The Eagles coaching staff has been obsessed with playing in the 12-personnel. With Goedert on the field with him, that’s another big receiver that defenses have to account for. Now add the speed of a healthy DeSean Jackson, Marquise Goodwin, and the rookie, Jalen Reagor, to the mix, what do you get?
Nothing but open land in the places that Ertz succeeds the most. This season can prove to be pivotal for the veteran tight end as the expectations of a revamped offense continue to rise. While many will continue to overlook the proven track record of Zach Ertz, the fact of the matter is this, Ertz is a top-2 tight end. Is Kelce the better athlete? Yes. Is Ertz the better target? Yes. Both tight ends bring great playmaking skills to their teams but after them, the other has a long way to go be considered as rivals to the throne.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports