Pro Football Focus, everyone's favorite NFL performance grading site, has been running their annual offseason "Secret Superstar" series which aims to identify one underrated player from every team for the upcoming season. According to PFF, the Eagles' secret supertar is none other than tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz is hardly a "secret" to Eagles fans, but here you go:
"Ertz had a very good first two seasons in the league. As an NFL sophomore, he had the fifth-highest overall grade among tight ends, was tied for the fourth-best drop rate, was the second-most targeted on deep passes, had the third-best deep pass catch rate, and is tied for fifth in Yards Per Route Run.
He would be a viable option in any offense, but the Eagles are not Receiver rich. While they did add Nelson Agholor in the first round of the draft, their most targeted Receiver in 2014, Maclin, is now on a different roster. For the rest of the 2014 Receivers, only Jordan Matthews (98) and Riley Cooper (91) were targeted more than Ertz (86). Ertz also was second only to Maclin in receiving grade for the team, with Matthews and Cooper well behind.
The main unknown is what Chip Kelly has planned for the Eagles’ offense. With a group of talented runners aboard, and his preference for three-WR sets, the scheme may limit Ertz’s targets. Ertz lines up in multiple positions, though, and has not been disposed of after two years in Kelly’s offense, which is an accomplishment and an endorsement."
PFF also notes how Ertz's blocking really improved during the second half of his sophomore season. Ertz has worked on his blocking this offseason with legendary former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Hudson Houck. Eagles tight end coach Justin Peelle has already seen improvement from Ertz in that area.
Better blocking should translate to even more playing time for Ertz in 2015. The only roadblock is veteran tight end Brent Celek. Ertz played 40.8% of the team's offensive snaps in 2013. That figure rose to 49.9% in 2014 while Celek dropped from 76.5% in 2013 to 69.3% last season.
Ertz has had a great spring. He caught everything thrown his way. He already looks to be a favorite target of potential starting quarterback Sam Bradford. The third-year tight end could figure to be a big part of the team's passing attack this season.