Eagles Training Camp Preview: Breaking down the versatile Tight End group

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Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) runs with the ball after making a catch as New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (22) tries to stop him during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia Eagles have been fortunate over the years at the tight end position. From Brent Celek and Zach Ertz all the way back to Pete Pihos and Pete Retzlaff, it’s been an abundance of riches at what used to be a luxury position.

Not anymore. Times have changed. Tight ends are valuable commodities in the NFL, just look at the transactions that went down this offseason in the NFC East. The New York Giants traded for Pro Bowler Darren Waller. The Dallas Cowboys invested a second-round pick in Luke Schoonmaker.

And the Washington Commanders brought back Logan Thomas who is two years removed from a 110-target season. It’ll be a fun position to watch in 2023.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) warms up during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 20, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (c) (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Meanwhile, the Eagles have the division’s best tight end in Dallas Goedert as he continues to creep up the national rankings. A recent ESPN poll surveying top executives and league evaluators put Eagles TE Dallas Goedert at No. 4 on a list of the best all-around tight ends in the game, right behind Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews.

Here is what they had to say about the Eagles star:

“Probably the most well-rounded of all the tight ends,” an AFC scout said. “He’s probably one of few guys who ranks highly in every phase — size, athleticism, speed and blocking make him rare.”

An NFC exec said: “He has developed into a real mismatch in the passing game. It’s been fun to watch how [the Eagles] have used him the last two years.”

The only thing stopping Goedert from ranking higher has been unfortunate injuries. The 6-foot-5, 256-pounder was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season in 2022 before a shoulder injury forced him out for five games. Look for him to earn his first Pro Bowl nod this year if he can stay healthy.

Eagles Roster Breakdown: Tight End Position

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) celebrates his touchdown catch as teammate Kenneth Gainwell (14) looks on during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Dallas Goedert: What else needs to be said about the former second-round pick out of South Dakota State? He led all tight ends in yards after catch per reception (7.8) last season while continuing to assert himself as the best blocker at the position. He’s never been afraid to stay at the line in run support or follow receivers down the field to lay the wood.

Dan Arnold: An underrated playmaker over his six seasons, Arnold might be the best under-the-radar move the Eagles made in the offseason. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder has hauled in 95 balls for 1,258 yards and 9 touchdowns in 59 career games, plus he’s seen action in three playoff contests. His raw athleticism is off the charts, along with the sticky hands to match.

Tyree Jackson: The organization remains super high on the converted quarterback from the University of Buffalo. Jackson — 4.59 seconds in the 40 — was quickly ascending up the depth chart before suffering a freak back injury at 2021 training camp, then picked up a season-ending knee injury which limited him to nine games. The Eagles signed him to an exclusive-rights free agent tender on April 24. He’ll be in straight competition with Arnold for TE2.

Jack Stoll: The best blocker of the bunch (not named Dallas Goedert) has the most experience of all the reserve tight ends: 905 offensive snaps in two seasons. An undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2021, Stoll has earned the coaching staff’s trust due to his ability to stay healthy and do all the dirty work. He’s a special-teams warrior, too.

Grant Calcaterra: One of Jalen Hurts’ former teammates at Oklahoma is clearly on the roster bubble entering his sophomore season. He is probably one of the better pass-catchers in this group — a guy Hurts famously called “silky smooth” — but he just hasn’t had a chance to shine thanks to limited snaps. Calcaterra had five catches for 81 yards in 2022, with a 40-yard reception accounting for the bulk of those yards.

Dalton Keene: The 6-foot-4, 251-pounder was supposed to be a starter for the New England Patriots when they took him in the third round of the 2020 draft. It just didn’t pan out for him there, and he faces an uphill climb of making the 53-man roster in Philly. Keene has three catches for 16 yards in six career games.

Brady Russell: He actually turned down the San Francisco 49ers to ink a better offer sheet ($48,000 guaranteed, with a $8,000 signing bonus) with the Eagles. So, bonus points for spurning a hated NFC rival. Russell (6-foot-3, 247 pounds) went undrafted out of the University of Colorado where he racked up 78 catches for 799 yards and three touchdowns. His uncle, Mark Russell, is the senior personnel director and advisor to Howie Roseman (via BuffZone).

AP Photo/Matt Slocum