Under Andy Reid, especially in recent years, it was common for the Eagles to keep only 2 or 3 tight ends on the 53 man roster. The tight end position wasn't a huge focal point of the offense. Only the starting TE saw significant reps. The back up TE served value mainly as a blocker or an injury replacement to the starter. The Eagles use of the TE compared nothing to how a team like the current New England Patriots who utilize both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in their offensive scheme. Reid also liked to keep a FB on his roster, despite the decreasing popularity of the position.
According to Geoff Mosher of CSN, Chip Kelly plans to bring change to how the Eagles value TEs. Here's what Mosher tweeted:
What can be drawn out of this?
- The Eagles will value TEs more under Chip Kelly.
- Chip Kelly plans to use multiple TEs in his offense.
- FB Stanley Havili will likely be gone. It's a shame because he's a nice Special Teams player and offers some athleticism at the position. Havili probably doesn't have any trade value so he'll be cut.
- The Eagles could be looking to make an addition or two in free agency and/or the draft.
- At least one of the TEs might be more of a H-back type that can be used as a FB in certain situations.
Current Eagles TEs under contract include Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, Emil Igwenagu, and Derek Carrier. I like Brent a lot and I figure he's a solid starter. Harbor on the other hand hasn't done much to impress me. I'd be fine if they got rid of him. I wrote back in the first edition of the BGN round table I'd like the Eagles to acquire more dynamic TEs in order to improve the passing attack. I don't think that Harbor is that guy. Emil Igwenagu is more of a FB than a TE but he does have experience there. I didn't think he looked like a natural fit at TE when I watched him in training camp last year but maybe he can be the H-back guy. Derek Carrier is a former athletic D3 star who spent time on the Eagles practice squad last year and projects as a WR/TE/H-back type.
If the Eagles look to free agency to add a TE, they have some interesting options. Martellus Bennet is one of the better free agents TEs. He's OK enough of a receiver and could also provide value as a blocker in both the pass/run. Delanie Walker doesn't offer much as a receiver but is a really good run blocker. That might be important if Chip plans to run the ball often as some have speculated. Anthony Fasano isn't anything special but could be a solid addition. Evan Moore, who was with the Eagles near the end of the season, is available but has apparently gone into hiding since his dropped potential game winning pass against the Redskins.
In a discussion I had with fellow BGN staff member Dan Klausner, he mentioned some of his favorite TEs from the 2013 draft class: Travis Kelce (brother of Jason Kelce), Vance McDonald, Gavin Escobar, Dion Sims, Nick Kasa, and Kyle Juszczyk (H-back type). I have to take a closer look at these guys before I can comment more on them, but it seems possible the Eagles might add a TE with a draft pick.
Certainly the change of how the Eagles value and use TEs is just one of the many changes Chip Kelly will bring to this team.
How do you think the TE depth chart should look in 2013?
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