No, I’m not talking about fifth round pick Ed Reynolds.
This blog post is inspired by a question that my dad would repeatedly ask last Eagles season every time Zach Ertz made a big catch.
“Is that the kid from Stanford who they got playing for ’em?”
I am unsure if he ever learned the rookie tight end’s actual name.
No worries, “the kid from Stanford” went on to have a very solid first season in midnight green, finishing his rookie campaign with 39 catches for 491 yards and five touchdowns (including a playoff game with three receptions for 22 yards and the go-ahead score with under five minutes remaining).
(5:18 mark of the video to see the pretty touchdown)
Extrapolate the final eight games of the regular season over a full year, and the total would come out to 44 receptions for 536 yards and eight touchdowns.
Now in his second NFL season, Ertz is going to be even better. Through two preseason games, he has posted six catches totaling 86 yards and a nice touchdown last Friday night against the Patriots, using his size to get open and haul in the red zone catch from Nick Foles. (Vine available here if it does not embed properly)
Early on last year, Chip Kelly and the Eagles coaching staff was hesitant to put Ertz on the field a ton because he needed to improve as a blocker and had struggled with some drops in the preseason.
Kelly, rightfully so, still loves Brent Celek, who is going into his eighth season with the birds, but it is going to be impossible for him to keep Ertz off the field this year. Look for the offense to feature some more two-tight end sets and do whatever it takes to get Ertz on the field.
I realize what I am telling you here isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s exciting to have a young weapon who is on his way toward becoming a stud.
This chart from Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com paints an even more complete picture. Sorted by yards, it compares the rookie seasons of some of the game’s current elite tight ends, and the only player to post better numbers than Ertz is Rob Gronkowski with the Patriots in 2010.
In his final season at Stanford in 2012, Ertz posted a line of 69-898-6, and I foresee him doing something very similar to that this year, just add in a few more touchdowns.
The only tight end in the league who is a lock to put up better numbers than Ertz is the Saints’ Jimmy Graham. Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron will be hard to beat, but I would not at all be shocked if it happened, which brings me to this.
Do that, dawgies.
I am fully expecting to hear “Is that the kid from Stanford who they got playing for em?” a ton over the next five and a half months.