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We are taking a look at Mel Kiper's top 5 players at every position of need for the Eagles. For the rest of this series, check out our storystream.
We started our big board series Monday taking a look at the top 5 prospects at two of the Eagles biggest need positions in the 2013 NFL draft. Safeties were up first, then we looked at offensive tackles, guards and finally corners. Today, we look at Mel Kiper's top 5 tight ends.
But wait, the Eagles have a tight end you say? Should they be looking to spend a high pick on another if this isn't a big position of need?
Let's take a quick look at Brent Celek. He's a good player... but is he at the point where he can't even be challenged? I don't think so. In fact, I don't think he's close to that point. Let's start with the good. We love Celek's toughness and that he has no fear of taking big hits and loves to pop up and make that first down signal. It pumps everyone up and is always a great moment.
I just wish it happened more.
As a blocker, Celek has certainly improved, but he's still just adequate in that area. As a pass catcher, he's also just pretty good. His stats at the end of any given season are always decent, but don't put him in the conversation of the top TEs in the league. PFF did give him some credit for this past season where he finished 7th among TEs in yards per route run
, which is a stat they use to measure a receivers effectiveness in the pass game.
However, PFF also dinged Celek in their year end look at drop rates
. You may remember that Jason Avant
& DeSean Jackson
were among the best in the league as far as hanging onto the ball. Celek, on the other hand, was among the worst. He dropped 8 passes last year and had the 7th worst drop rate among TEs.
So let's look at some guys who could be an upgrade over Celek. He's no shrimp at 6-4, but this list has some big boys on it...
Many see the 2 guys at the top as almost interchangeable. As you can see, they've got almost the same body, but their skill set matches up as well. Both can be used as an extra WR and with a 6-6 frame they can dominate smaller defenders. Eagles fans always say they'd like to see bigger receivers in the red zone... well here you are.
Ertz was the more prolific pass catcher of the two, but that could be down to Stanford's more pass oriented offense. Both guys averaged the same yards per catch.
Travis Kelce is another big boy and the brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce
. He also hails from the same school as Celek did, Cincinnati. He caught 45 passes for 722 yards and a TD last year.
Dion Sims is a really interesting prospect because at 6-5, 285 he's almost like another tackle on the field, but he can move as well. He projects as a Martellus Bennett
type player that could be both a dominant blocker but also a capable pass catcher.
Tyler Eifert - Has above average ball skills, but is a below average blocker. High effort guy who plays without fear. His size will translate to the NFL, but his speed may not. He's not exactly deficient with his legs, but he's not going to burn guys at the next level.
Zach Ertz - Like Eifert he's not a great blocker, but he's more athletic and creates a lot more separation. Has good hands and fights for yards after the catch. Almost never used in pass protection. Is seen as a better prospect than Colby Fleener, who came out of Stanford last season.
Cincinnati senior Travis Kelce (younger brother of Eagles center, Jason Kelce) might have the most complete skillset of them all, though. A 6'6" 260 pound sledgehammer with speed and strength, Kelce will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Patriots
tight end Rob Gronkowski
as he goes through the pre-draft process.
Part of what makes Gronkowski such an impressive NFL tight end (and why Kelce compares favorably to him) is because he's a strong, technically sound, and tenacious blocker, and the Bearcats use his talents in a number of ways in their run game.
Dion Sims - Guys that are this athletic and this big just don't come along that often. He's a former basketball player with exceptional hands. Has the frame to be a dominant blocker, but isn't one yet. Probably average in that department, but certainly has lots of upside still. Hard to bring down in space, but could improve his route running.
Jordan Reed - The fact that he came out this year surprised some draft people. Has spent a lot of time being tutored by fellow Gator Aaron Hernandez and has a similar skill set and is also a bit undersized. Because of his size, he's not a great blocker and could be a liability early on in his NFL career. He's got a lot of speed, has good hands, runs good routes and was productive in college. He actually started as an option QB at Florida, so he could be used creatively as an H-back type.