Philadelphia Eagles: Is Dallas Goedert more valuable than Zach Ertz?

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While Zach Ertz may reign as one of the NFL’s elite tight ends, is his teammate, Dallas Goedert, actually more valuable to the Philadelphia Eagles?

If we’re being honest, Zach Ertz is kind of a one-trick pony.

Now granted, it’s a pretty amazing trick and has kept the ex-Stanford Cardinal among the Philadelphia Eagles‘ top receiving targets regardless of his head coach or offensive coordinator, but I digress. For all the ability Ertz brings to the table as a receiving threat across the middle of the field – even if he still can’t seem to pick up YAC – he will never ascend to the top of tight end Mount Rushmore and challenge George Kittle for the top spot post-Gronk unless he can develop as a blocker.

At 29-years-old, that’s probably never going to happen.

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However, the Eagles just so happen to have another highly toted tight end they selected in the second round who could: Second-year South Dakota State product Dallas Goedert.

Another pass-catching specialist who seldom blocked in college, Goedert came to Philadelphia as a potential replacement for Trey Burton as the team’s tight end number two, and for the most part, that’s what he was as a rookie. Less than a year removed from amassing 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns as the Jackrabbits’ top target, Goedert finished out his debut season at fourth on the team in receiving yards with 334 yards on 33 catches – though he slightly made up for it with four receiving touchdowns.

When contrasted with Ertz’s record-setting 116 catches for 1163 yards, Goedert’s 2018 campaign was positively pedestrian, but then a funny thing happened: He came back a whole lot better.

Again, the numbers aren’t going to show it, as Goedert is only averaging four targets on 42.875 snaps a game (good for about 61.5 percent of the team’s offensive snaps), but when his number has been called, the 24-year-old has risen to the occasion.

He also had that one ugly fumble, but we can forgive him for that.

While Ertz remains a near-every down player for the Birds in 2019, Goedert’s snaps have steadily risen over the past month because of his ability to contribute in the run game both as an in-line blocker and in space. Not since Brent Celek have the Eagles been able to confidently keep a tight end on the end of the line of scrimmage to contribute as a blocker – with the team often having to instead turn to six, and even seven lineman package to dominate at the line of scrimmage.

With the air growing progressively colder, and the Eagles’ stable of receiving targets becoming less and less encouraging with each passing game, we may soon come upon the day where it’s Goedert, not Ertz, who is leading the two-person position group in snaps per game.

And if that does happen, credit to the front office.

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Despite having a top-tier tight end already on the roster and under contract through 2021, Howie Roseman identified a high-upside tight end with an NFL body and ridiculous college production and traded up to draft him 49th overall. While he may remain a number two option for the remainder of his rookie contract, don’t be too surprised if Dallas Goedert one day becomes the Philadelphia Eagles’ next great tight end – because according to Pro Football Focus, he’s already the second-highest rated player at his position through the first two months of the season behind only George Kittle.