by Alex Kurpeski (@3COAK)
For eons it seems as though Ertz naysayers have been preaching the word of the new testament, promising the arrival of a new prophet to soak up targets for the Eagles at the tight end position. That prophet is said to go by the surname Goedert, with his birth name derived from the team’s greatest rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
I sincerely hope that my attempt at writing a biblical opening to this piece landed, as I’ve grown tired of introducing things traditionally. In case you weren’t able to keep up with what I was trying to communicate I’ll reiterate that opening statement in a vernacular that more people could understand. This year is the year that Dallas Goedert finally usurps Ertz’s place on Philadelphia’s depth chart, as the younger, more athletic Goedert enters into his third season in the team’s system. While Ertz has been an incredibly effective catalyst for the team’s passing attack in the last half-decade, the time has come to pass the torch to his understudy.
With the addition of rookie wideouts Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins, Philadelphia has made it clear that they want to design an offense with speed at all levels of the field. While Ertz has been a steady pair of hands for Carson Wentz since the signal-caller entered the league, his role in this offense has often derived from pure necessity. In the last five seasons, Ertz has seen at least 100 targets while reeling in no fewer than 74 passes in each of those seasons. In more than a few ways, the tight end’s function in the team’s offense has morphed into something of a hybrid slot receiver role, gobbling up shallow passes and moving the chains when asked. Like Jason Witten in Dallas, Ertz was able to buoy the Eagles passing attack when the team faced deficiencies at the receiver position, particularly last season when they were down to the likes of Greg Ward, J.J Arcega-Whiteside, and Nelson Agholor by the playoffs. While he did take on a larger share of possible targets, Ertz actually regressed in a variety of ways last season.
Following a season where he broke the league record for receptions by a tight end, Ertz saw his reception totals decrease by over 25% while reeling in just 65.2% of his targets, Ertz’s lowest catch rate since his rookie campaign. While the veteran’s ADOT rose from 7.2 YPT in 2018 to 8.6 YPT in 2019, his drop rate rose to 3.7% despite seeing 21 fewer targets.
Meanwhile, Goedert nearly doubled his totals for targets, receptions, receiving yardage, and yards after-the-catch. That last category is the one that I believe will allow Goedert to push Ertz for his target share this season, as the latter managed to register 331 YAC while Ertz tallied only 255 on 48 more targets. While I definitely see both players putting up viable TE1 level numbers, I do believe that Ertz’s days in the top-five are numbered, barring an injury to Goedert.
Only 2 tight ends have ranked in the top-10 in PFF receiving and run-blocking grade since 2018:
George Kittle and Dallas Goedert pic.twitter.com/bFH92TJ1x1
— PFF (@PFF) May 27, 2020
With the additions of 5 brand new possible targets (the three rookie receivers, trade acquisition Marquise Goodwin, and essentially DeSean Jackson, who missed most of last season with a core muscle injury), the Eagles offense should distribute the ball to more outlets this season, removing the feeding tube that has been attached to the tight end position for the past couple of seasons.
- 68 receptions (-20 from last season)
- 102 targets (-33 from last season)
- 714 receiving yards (-202 from last season)
- 5 receiving TDs (-2 from last season)
- 169.4 fantasy points ~TE8 (-4 spots from last season)
- 74 receptions (+18 from last season)
- 110 targets (+23 from last season)
- 885 receiving yards (+278 from last season)
- 5 receiving TDs
- 192.5 fantasy points ~TE6 (+4 spots from last season)
If my predictions hold true then there could be a lot of points to go around for these two players, making anyone who stacked them very happy.