On Day 2 of the NFL Draft the Philadelphia Eagles have added TE Zach Ertz and DT Bennie Logan to the nest. A tight end wasn’t necessarily needed, but was expected. A defensive tackle was expected, but not necessarily the one they chose.
Ertz is a 6′ 5″ 250 lbs TE out of Stanford who was the consensus No. 2 player at his position. I expected the Eagles to take a tight end early simply due to the level of interest they’ve shown in various prospects.
Chip Kelly said Ertz was their highest rated player on their board at the start of the second round and that the team actually had a low first-round grade on him. I guess that rumor about Kelly wanting to stockpile tight ends is proving to be correct!
Here are some Chip Kelly quotes regarding Ertz after the selection (courtesy of Eagles media relations):
Unfortunately, I know Zach personally (jokingly). He actually caught the tying touchdown pass against us [while at Oregon] in our one loss of the season to Stanford. He’s just an outstanding prospect, he’s a mismatch nightmare if you get him isolated on a defensive back. He’s very difficult to cover, just because of his size, but he’s also too athletic to put linebackers on him.
He’s [Ertz] is a very smart player, great route-runner and a guy who I think is going to give us a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do. I’ve always been a heavy tight end guy. We don’t play with a fullback, we really use that second tight end and now, a third tight end. So, he’ll go in with [TE] Brent Celek and [TE] James Casey and add to the mix of what we can do and present a lot of problems for people.
If you want to go big and put linebackers on the field, we believe we have pass mismatches for you. If you want to go small and put DB’s on the field, I think we have a mismatch in the run game.
On whether Brent Celek, James Casey and Zach Ertz will all get a chance to play:
“Yeah. You go like that (holds three fingers in the air) and three tight ends go in the game. We are going to go three tight ends in a game. Now, if they go three linebackers, we spread them out and if they go DB’s, we smash you. So, pick your poison.”
So there you have it. Ertz is a mismatch nightmare and the offense will play some three tight end sets. Sounds quite interesting (especially the “smash you” part)!
Some folks are comparing the Eagles’ James Casey and now Zach Ertz to the Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Casey would be in the mold of Hernandez and Ertz would be the Gronk-type.
Hopefully, that turns out to be a good comparison, sans the injuries.
Here are some highlights of a pretty fair breakdown of Ertz via NF’sFuture.com:
Ertz is a better athlete on tape than what he showed at the Combine. Ertz ran poorly in many minds and has some talking about him as overrated. I see a solid athlete with enough speed to create matchup problems flexed out or inline in the NFL.
Good hands but occasionally will have a concentration drop, usually caused by trying to get his eyes up field. At his best when he can use his length and leaping ability (improved Combine vertical at the pro day to 35.5”). Strong hands that snags the ball out of the air and rarely allows it into his body. Natural pass catcher with long arms and huge catching radius. Ertz has exceptional body control and can adjust to poorly thrown balls.
Ertz lacks the burst and blazing speed to be a really effective TE after the catch. That said, there were several occasions that it took several defenders to bring Ertz down in the open field. While he won’t strike much fear in the hearts of opponents as a gamebreaker, he’s got enough wiggle and power to cause problems in 1 on 1 situations.
Zach Ertz is a low risk prospect. The question is how high is the reward? His ceiling may be somewhat limited as he lacks great speed and burst that is sought in today’s tight ends.
Ertz wasn’t an accomplished blocker at Stanford but may be called on to become one at the next level. With average speed, it will be tough to use Ertz flexed out in an offense and he’s likely to spend most of his time inline. Ertz would be wise to add some more weight and bulk to his frame before Training Camp begins and work blocking technique.
Though I wouldn’t have picked a TE there, Ertz seems like a good player. Plus, right now it’s hard to understand the reasoning for picking him until we actually see Kelly’s offense. Two years from now we might think it was an excellent pick.
As for Bennie Logan, he was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t really know much about him and given his size at 6′ 2, 310 lbs, I didn’t see him as a fit for nose tackle or 5-tech DE.
I was thinking more along the lines of Jesse Williams at that point, but I heard some rumblings about teams being concerned with his knees, which explains his drop down the boards.
Nonetheless, here’s what NFLDraftScout had to say about Logan…
STRENGTHS: Possesses a stout frame, thick lower-half and long, strong arms. Flashes a quick burst off the snap to slip through gaps. Possesses good upper-body strength, demonstrating the functional strength to bull-rush guards and centers deep into the pocket before ripping himself free to pursue the quarterback. Flashes the explosive upper-body strength to shed blocks quickly and latch onto backs as they attempt to run past. Occasionally will use an arm-over swim move with some effectiveness. Good lateral agility to “play the keys” and pursue down the line of scrimmage. Good hustle laterally and even for up to 10 yards downfield, earning the right to wear No. 18.
WEAKNESSES: Didn’t take the step in his development in 2012 that scouts had hoped to see from him. Doesn’t use his swim move often enough, simply resorting to his bull-rush, which decreases in effectiveness as he tires and loses his pad level. Gets caught up in the hand to hand combat at the line of scrimmage and loses track of the ball.
Plays with a high-motor but too often relies on his effort to make plays when his initial burst or push doesn’t work, showing few complementary moves for a player with his experience. Frequently is substituted as part of LSU’s rotation, which raises concerns about his readiness to play consistent snaps against even better competition in the NFL.
Compares to: Brodrick Bunkley
After reading other scouting reports on him, I like the pick even less. It sounds as if Logan’s play dropped off quite a bit after Michael Brockers left for the NFL last year. Most reports also said he was best suited as a rotational 4-3 DT.
I get that most defensive linemen are part of a rotation these days anyway. But, when you hear that as part of scouting reports, that’s not good. Furthermore, he compares to Brodrick Bunkley? Ugh!
A third-round player should be looked at as a future starter and someone more than a rotational player. Maybe the Eagles see him that way, or at least they should see him that way.
Kelly described him as versatile and someone who can push the pocket. He also said they had a second-round grade on him. If it means anything, Pete Prisco of CBSSports gave the pick an “A” and had this to say about it:
This is one of the biggest steals of the draft. Logan is a productive player who will be better on the next level. Love this pick.
That’s all well and good, but I’m just not really feeling the Logan pick. My first thought after they picked him was that it seems like a third-round Andy Reid special (aka, reach, bad fit, etc).
However, I’ll admit that I still don’t know that much about after quickly researching just three or four scouting reports on him. I need to look at him more thoroughly and watch him play before I can really pass judgment.
Hopefully he turns out to be a good player. Right now, I’ll just have to trust Chip’s judgment.