COMMENTARY | Zach Ertz should be expected to have a significant impact in the Philadelphia Eagles offense, proving why the franchise made him the earliest-drafted tight end in franchise history since picking Keith Jackson in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft.
What stands out immediately about Ertz is his size. At six feet and five inches tall, Ertz is the tallest Eagles tight end on the current roster. When you get a chance to see him in action you can see that his size becomes even more of an asset as he has the ability to diversify the offense. Ertz can line up at a number of different positions on the field, and with Chip Kelly's offensive planning, fans should certainly expect to see Ertz be used all over the field. Fortunately for Kelly and the Eagles, Ertz also brings a solid football IQ to the field.
"They used him in a multiple variety," Kelly said on PhiladelphiaEagles.com after the NFL Draft, referring to how Stanford used his new tight end last season. "They used him as a single receiver on the trips set. He was by himself isolated on the DB. They used him as a tight end. They used him as a H-back. They used him as a move guy," Kelly said. "They used him all over the place. You couldn't isolate him in one certain spot."
That will give opposing defensive coordinators something to think about in preparing to take on the Eagles offense. How quickly the Eagles offense catches on remains to be seen, but if the pieces start coming together early on under Kelly's coaching, Ertz should be a key player. Considering Kelly is very open to employing a multiple tight end offense, Ertz should quickly compete and take over a starting role.
The Eagles have two players likely to start the year starting in Kelly's offense. Seven-year veteran Brent Celek has had his ups and downs but when healthy he can be dependable. The Eagles also signed James Casey in free agency this offseason, but Ertz will be given a chance to claim a starting role as soon as he can. Ertz should also be used in three tight-end sets, which Kelly has discussed previously. This is where the versatility of Ertz will come in to play.
If all goes to plan, the Eagles will be able to do a lot of things with their offense and Ertz can fill almost any spot needed. The Eagles could send DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin deep and have Ertz run a pattern out of the slot or opposite Celek on the other side. They could have LeSean McCoy line up as the running threat but have Ertz in the backfield for blocking or perhaps even a surprise hand off.
"If you want to go big and put linebackers on the field, I think we have pass mismatches for you," Kelly said on PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "If you want to go small and put DBs on the field, we got a mismatch in the run game. It's a great weapon and a great tool to have. He's a quality individual."
Let the fun begin in Philadelphia.Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast and a Philadelphia area sports writer. Follow McGuire on Twitter @krmcguire.
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