COMMENTARY | Chip Kelly no doubt liked what he saw from tight end Zach Ertz last November in Eugene, Ore.
Not at the time, mind you.
Ertz dominated Kelly's Oregon Ducks to the tune of 11 catches for 106 yards and a game-tying touchdown with 1:35 left in regulation.
Ertz's impact on that game couldn't be overstated, since the Cardinal's only other consistent source of offense that night was running back Stepfan Taylor.
So it's no surprise that Kelly -- who loves big, athletic tight ends -- thought the 6-foot-5, 249-pound Ertz could be a good fit in whatever variation of the spread-option offense he puts in place for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman selected Ertz with the third pick of the second round -- No. 35 overall -- on Friday in the NFL Draft, giving us at least a hint that Kelly's offense will lean heavily on the tight end; the Eages already have six tight ends on the roster, including Brent Celek and James Casey.
There was some speculation that the Eagles were considering Geno Smith with the No. 4 overall pick -- thankfully, they snapped up bear-wrestling offensive tackle Lane Johnson instead -- but not only did the Birds bypass Smith in the first round, they left him on the board in the second round, as well (Smith was selected four picks later by the New York Jets).
Philly still has needs at cornerback, and it wouldn't be a bad thing to select a quarterback, as well -- Vick turns 33 in June, and it's uncertain how well Nick Foles fits Kelly's offense -- but the QB who I thought would best fit, E.J. Manuel, went to the Buffalo Bills in the first round. After that, perhaps a linebacker and a wide receiver (Jeremy Maclin is in the last year of his contract, and DeSean Jackson is due nearly $10 million for the 2014 season, so as good as those two are, there's no guarantees they'll both be back beyond this season).
In the meantime, I see Ertz as a guy who can come in and produce right off the bat. He's a playmaker, and you really can't have too many of those.
And don't worry, Kelly will utilize multiple tight ends, as he often did at Oregon. And he might not necessarily do so in conventional ways; the Ducks had a package last season in which TE Colt Lyerla lined up as the running back.
With Johnson in the first round and Ertz in the second, the Eagles are off to a good start in this draft. Their next scheduled pick is No. 67 overall -- the fifth pick of the third round.
Adam Sparks has followed the Philadelphia Eagles since the 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2010.
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