NFL Draft: Will the Eagles pick a tight end this year?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) looks on during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Right now, analysts and content creators are endlessly predicting and re-predicting this year’s picks for the Eagles – but one position gets overlooked every time. It’s an omission that ignores recent history and neglects a clear need at a key position for the team’s offensive style. And it would be typical of Howie Roseman to catch everybody off-balance and make a mockery of mock drafts.

It’s time to talk about tight ends.

A pattern of picks

This time last year, fans were drooling over footage of a tight end from Philly. One year later, it’s unlikely a TE will be selected as early in the draft as Kyle Pitts. However, the Eagles have a history of spending a Day-Two pick on this position and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if that record continues later this month.

Zach Ertz was drafted in Round Two in 2013, when the Eagles had Brent Celek established at the position. Dallas Goedert was also drafted in the second round, replacing Celek and providing support for Ertz in 2018. Now, Ertz is gone and Goedert has claimed the TE1 throne. The Eagles have a second-round pick (51st overall) and two third-rounders (83 and 101) up their sleeve, and may look to repeat their pattern of succession planning – especially if tight ends slip down the board this year.

Slim pickings

The Eagles have given plenty of tight ends a chance in recent years, like Jason Croom, Joshua Perkins, Caleb Wilson and Alex Ellis. The current roster features two former undrafted free agents, Jack Stoll and Noah Togiai. Nick Sirianni has expressed excitement about Tyree Jackson, perhaps because he is very tall. And Richard Rodgers is a fans’ favorite, almost certainly because he has a rude and amusing nickname.

The combination of Ertz and Goedert gave Philly a truly elite duo at the position for three-and-a-bit seasons. But with that partnership now dissolved, the Eagles will be on the lookout for somebody to step up and grab the TE2 spot. After evaluating the current crop, they may find a better option in the draft.

A pick for Nick

Sirianni’s playbook is another big reason why the team could pick a TE in the upcoming draft. The Eagles led the league in rushing yards per game and run play percentage last season. Adding a tight end who can block and catch would generate an element of surprise that they sorely lacked after losing Ertz.

An upgrade at TE2 would also strengthen the potency of formations with more than one TE on the field. The Eagles used 12 personnel on 25 percent of snaps in the 2021 season, the ninth highest rate in the NFL. By adding a player with better pedigree at the position, opposing defenses will have a lot more to worry about when Goedert brings a buddy to the line of scrimmage.

Not mocked, not shocked

As the 2022 NFL Draft gets closer, almost every player on the board has been mocked as an Eagles pick – except the tight ends. That’s understandable after the team made Dallas Goedert the NFL’s third highest-paid player at the position. But a talented prospect could fall to Day Two, when the Eagles have secured some fantastic TEs in recent years. And because tight end is such a key role in Sirianni’s offense, a gifted young player could potentially make a big impact on the team’s achievements in 2022 and beyond.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire