After two days of let downs for Eagles fans in this series, its time for the tight ends of the NFC East. If you haven’t been following the series so far, make sure to check out the archive below. As a reminder, these rankings include only players who are already signed for the 2019 season. The rankings will be revisited after free agency and the draft. Oh, and before you ask, I do understand that Jason Witten has been resigned by the Cowboys.
1. Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 116 Recs - 1163 Yds | 8 TDs - 100.1 WR Rating (passer rating when targeted)
PFF Grade: 76.0
Key Stat: Caught 83.3% of passes thrown 20+ yards down field (led NFL TEs)
Zach Ertz has finally broken out, people. He is one of the biggest pass-catching threats in the league and is the top TE in the division by far. While 2018 was his best pass-blocking season (per PFF) in the last 5 years, his 2013 season actually graded out higher. His run-blocking still leaves a lot to be desired, but his ability to extend plays and move the football outweigh his weakness in the running game. With his BFF Carson throwing him the ball in 2019, look for Ertz to lead the Eagles in targets yet again.
2. Evan Engram - New York Giants
2018 Stats: 45 Recs - 577 Yds | 3 TDs - 115.6 WR Rating
PFF Grade: 76.5
Key Stat: 2nd in the NFL among TEs in terms of Yards after Catch per Reception with 8.7 (George Kittle 9.9 YAC/Rec)
After taking a nice step forward after his rookie season, Evan Engram is looking to be a very solid player for the Giants. While he is taking the “Zach Ertz Route” to success as a tight end, his ability to be a dangerous pass catcher is among the tops in the league. PFF actually graded Engram higher than Ertz last season, and there is a valid argument that he was the better player. This is an Eagles blog though so... Engram has a corpse throwing him the ball so its hard to predict what will happen, but if the ball gets to him, I can safely predict he’ll have one hell of a season next year.
3. Dallas Goedert - Philadelphia Eagles
2018 Stats: 33 Recs - 334 Yds | 4 TDs - 110.0 WR Rating
PFF Grade: 74.1
Key Stat: Nick Foles had a passer rating of 100 or greater in 4 of the last 5 games when targeting Goedert
Its hard for me to put into words just how excited I am to see this guy develop. His rookie season was borderline phenomenal. For comparison, here are the rookie seasons of a few notable tight ends:
Zach Ertz: 36 Recs - 469 Yds | 4 TDs - WR Rating 116.4 | PFF Grade: 80.6
Jordan Reed: 45 Recs - 499 Yds | 3 TDs - WR Rating 102.0 | PFF Grade: 89.0
Rob Gronkowski: 42 Recs - 546 Yds | 10 TDs - WR Rating 143.0 | PFF Grade: 86.7
Jimmy Graham: 31 Recs - 356 Yds | 5 TDs - WR Rating 118.7 | PFF Grade: 76.3
Greg Olsen: 39 Recs - 391 Yds | 2 TDs - WR Rating 83.5 | PFF Grade: 74.4
While some of these guys were better in certain areas, some were certainly worse. While I’m not quite ready to say that Dallas is the next Gronk or Jimmy Graham, I think its very possible he ends up being a better player than Zach Ertz, which is pretty exciting. Goedert should continue to get get more playing time as his career progresses, and with Doug Pederson’s love of heavy sets, there will be plenty of playing time for the sophmore TE next year.
4. Jordan Reed - Washington
2018 Stats: 54 Recs - 558 Yds | 2 TDs - 87.4 WR Rating
PFF Grade 73.3
Key Stat: 3rd most snaps taken by Reed in a single season with 512 (2015 - 764, 2016 -565)
Jordan Reeds is only 28. Jordan Reed has had 28 concussions. Dude is pretty great when he plays, but through 6 seasons he has never played more than 14 games. I’m not holding my breath that Reed will ever return to Pro Bowl form, but it really wouldn’t be that surprising if he did, either. 2019, with Colt McCoy at QB, might not be the year for it, however.
5. Vernon Davis - Washington
2018 Stats: 25 Recs - 367 Yds | 2 TDs - 112.4 WR Rating
PFF Grade: 61.4
Key Stat: Tied for 2nd in the NFL among TEs with 2 TDs on deep plays (20+ yards)
Davis will enter his 14th season in 2019. Its hard to see him continuing to be a deep threat moving forward, but its also hard to see any other tight ends in the division more deserving of the fifth place spot on this list. Much respect to Davis, who, at age 35 is still a prominent deep threat. If only he had someone to throw him the ball.
The Eagles take the cake here. For those counting, this is the fourth positional group in a row that the Redskins have not led the division in. Thanks to Pro Football Focus for all statistics involved in this article. Stay tuned to BGN as the series continues with the Offensive Line next.