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Ranking the NFC East: Tight Ends

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It’s mid-July, and there’s not much to do except to make lists and rank players... so let’s get to it!

Training camp starts in about 3 weeks, and we’re almost about 5 weeks away from the preseason opener against the Patriots. Basically, we have nothing to do right now but wait.

So, I thought we could do what we did last year at this time and do some tight end rankings. Today, take a look at the tight ends in the NFC East.

When it comes to Redskin tight ends, every Washington fan has to write the caveat, “when healthy” as he mentions Jordan Reed, a player who is a demon on the field, but has never played a full 16-game season in his career. Reed [insert caveat] is possibly the most talented tight end in the division, and ranks among the elite of the league [repeat caveat]. Vernon Davis, who began his career in San Fransisco with Alex Smith, appears ageless. Is 2018 the year that Father Time catches him from behind, or will it be a matter of ‘back to the future’ with Smith & Davis repeating the 2009 season when VD caught 78 passes from Alex Smith for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns?

The Giants picked Evan Engram 23rd overall in the 2017 draft, and he had an impressive rookie year, posting 64 catches for 722 yards and 6 TDs. One would expect him to benefit from a stronger run game this season (Saquon Barkley), better offensive line play (Solder & Hernandez), and the return to health of Odell Beckham Jr. Of course, all these factors could result in less opportunities for Engram, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens to his production this season. In any event, he looks like a legitimate first round talent.

The Cowboys big news at TE this offseason was the retirement of longtime great, Jason Witten, which imperfectly mirrored the loss (via release) of Dez Bryant from the WR group. Suddenly, the Cowboy offense has a different look. The second-biggest offseason TE news for Dallas came during the second day of the draft. Many pundits expected the Cowboys to draft Dallas Goedert with their second round pick, but Philly jumped in front of them and snatched Goedert off the board. Jerry & Stephen Jones waited till the 4th round to select Dalton Schultz. Here’s what was written about him shortly after the draft on Blogging the Boys:

Schultz is a feisty blocker as he looks to engage opponents and use his feet to move them aside. He positions his body well to seal off running lanes and has good balance to be useful in pass protection. The team’s requirement of being a strong inline blocker is met with a player like Schultz.

Like Witten, he won’t wow you with speed, but has a smooth release and can hit his top speed quickly. Schultz isn’t a superior athlete, but he moves fluidly in the open field.

He only has 55 catches in his college career. He wasn’t a big threat in the team’s passing game, but his job was to block. When he did catch passes, it was usually of the short and intermediate style so he can be an emergency valve for quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s a smart player that understands how to break out of routes. He has good hands as he’s a natural pass catcher. Schultz catches the ball away from his body and demonstrates a good catch radius. He doesn’t go down easy and his physical play can claw out extra yardage needed for a first down.

The Eagles didn’t see much change in their super bowl winning roster, but TE may have been the key exception: the position where Philly had the most player turnover. Trey Burton, one of the super bowl heroes, was frustrated and unhappy when the Eagles didn’t offer him a contract before allowing him to leave in free agency. Likewise, longtime Eagle Brent Celek was allowed to depart, leaving the Eagles with only one veteran tight end — the very talented Zach Ertz, who has had at least 74 receptions, and 810 yards in each of the past three seasons. He’s caught 14 TDs in that time, including 8 touchdowns in 2017. The Eagles, as mentioned above, drafted Dallas Goedert in the second round of the ‘18 draft. Goedert was considered by many to be the best TE prospect available. They also signed Richard Rodgers, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, who is perhaps best known for being on the receiving end of at least one Aaron Rodgers game-winning Hail Mary.

Redskins

  • Jordan Reed
  • Vernon Davis
  • Jeremy Sprinkle

Giants

  • Evan Engram
  • Rhett Ellison
  • Jerell Adams

Cowboys

  • Dalton Schultz
  • Geoff Swaim
  • Rico Gathers

Eagles

  • Zach Ertz
  • Dallas Goedert
  • Richard Rodgers

Poll

Which NFC East team will have the best and most productive TE group in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Redskins
    (675 votes)
  • 7%
    Giants
    (134 votes)
  • 1%
    Cowboys
    (19 votes)
  • 51%
    Eagles
    (888 votes)
1716 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is the best tight end in the NFC East?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Jordan Reed
    (565 votes)
  • 2%
    Vernon Davis
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    Evan Engram
    (108 votes)
  • 0%
    Dalton Schultz
    (8 votes)
  • 54%
    Zach Ertz
    (859 votes)
  • 0%
    Dallas Goedert
    (6 votes)
1581 votes total Vote Now