Celeks New Rookie Bunk Buddy
Chip has taken a keen interest in Tight Ends these past few weeks leading up to the draft. Celek is getting old and has suffered a good few injuries recently. Harbor bless him has quite an issue with his back, though you have to applaud him playing through an entire half of football against the Bengals with three fractured bones in his back, including catching and blocking some massive linemen as he fought for his position.
We have Casey now, although what role Chip wishes to use him in remains to be seen, though I think the fact that Kelly’s been eyeing up TE’s tell us that Casey will perhaps be used more readily as a fullback. Moore was never anything more than a stop-gap as Harbor and Celek recovered so it makes perfect sense to look for someone new in this years draft and here’s what we’ve got.
I’ll talk about the three TE’s that Chip visited firstly as they are obviously the guys that are on Chips radar so to speak. Rice’s Vance McDonald, Marshall’s Matt Furstenburg and finally Arkansas’ Chris Gragg all received private workouts or visit’s from the Eagles front office at some point in the past few weeks. Also Gavin Escobar from San Diego State also had our TE coach visit him on his pro-day. What can the Eagles see in these guys?
Gavin Escobar will be the first name that pops up out of the above names in the draft, though his stock so to speak has taken quite a hit which begs the question as to whether Chip will use a pick on him as you’re looking at a possible 2nd round pick being used. He has a safe pair of hands and did well this year catching 42 passes for 543 yards. Though his speed leaves much to be desired, we may not know how Chip will run his offense, but no doubt as much as he wants a blocking TE, he’ll be looking for someone more athletic and Escobar will struggle to get separation even against the slowest NFL linebackers, doesn’t bode well for Gavin.
Vance McDonald of Rice pops up next, Vance looks like a very strong player. You’re looking at between round 3 and 4 for him, but in all honesty if he makes it to the 4th I will be extremely surprised. He had a good 40 time in the combine and came out first for TE’s on the bench press, with 31 reps. He struggles to block at times which is a little bit of a worry, then again he more than makes up for it with his catching ability. Where as Gavin will struggle to get any separation, Vance will relish the opportunity to break away from opposing LB’s and even DB’s. I do think Chip would have to use a 3rd round pick if he wanted Vance, and whilst that may seem expensive, you’re looking at getting one of the, if not, the most athletic TE in this years draft.
Chris Gragg if anything tells us what Chip is looking for in a TE and I think the fact we visited this possible 7th round TE shows that the Eagles care less about a blocking TE and more about a WR hybrid TE as Chris will not be able to block much if he does start. On the flip side he’s quick, in fact he posted the quickest TE 40 at the combine and has been lined up as a WR on numerous occasions as well as a TE. He does have a safe pair of hands to and could be relied upon to catch that crucial ball, but again it’s the sacrifice of taking a TE who quite frankly cannot block.
Matt Furstenburg has suffered in part due to the team he played for, Maryland Terps who ended up using their fifth string QB. This meant that Matt got little chance of shining as the Terps offense simply wasn’t very good last year, though he did showcase his skills at the combine and put forward and good few reasons to draft him. Again he was quick like Chris, in fact he ran in a 40 that came in second, behind Gragg of course and came second in the vertical leap. Vertical leap is an aspect we may have to watch especially if Chip looks to start either Vick or Foles as we have seen a fair few of there throws floating a little high last year. At least Matt could remedy some of those throws with a nice jump. Although in comparison to Vance’s 31 reps on the bench, Matt only managed 18, but he is a solid unit meaning he can block just as readily as he can catch. Along with being quick, despite probably being thought of as a lesser prospect to Chris Gragg I would definitely take Matt long before Chris. Also many know the last Terp TE to get drafted back in 2006… Vernon Favis who has been Kaep’s go to guy this past year, in fact since Kaep started I don’t think any other receiver has even caught a ball.
Who else is in the draft that the Eagles haven’t spied? We have to look at the Fighting Irish’s TE Eifert who may even go in the first but could very well drop to the Eagles second round pick. Why’s he so good, he’s a good run blocker for one, but it’s his hands that most impress, he doesn’t drop anything. I do like him and whilst his 40 time won’t shock many, he’s quick enough to at least get some form of separation. I just think the Eagles won’t use a second rounder on a TE.
There’s Stanfords Ertz, who is relatively slow which would discount him I fear straight away especially with his possible 2nd round price tag although I think he may drop to 3. His arms will worry some to, simply put they’re to short, if he was quicker it wouldn’t be such an issue, but he isn’t so I doubt he’ll end up an Eagle.
Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Dion Sims and Nick Kasa are other names that could be gone before our prospect TE but again their speed alone put’s me off even considering them. I do think Chip wants’ a hybrid TE/WR in his offense, none of those names could do that/ They may be able to block most anything coming their way, but with the private workout out on Gragg as said before I think Chip has his mind made up on what kind of TE he wants to run with.
Ultimately who do I think the Eagles will actually draft on draft day? I think Vance is to expensive, not so much that he isn’t worth his possible third round pick as I think he is actually a steal if he makes it to our fourth round pick, I just think our third round pick may be used elsewhere. Gavin I think is a no go, not athletic enough much like the TE’s above. Gragg cannot block which despite not being something Chip necessarily is looking for, a TE that cannot block is still not a good thing no matter how quick they run. I do think Furstunberg is a good prospect, he’ll possibly go very late, even 7th round and for that he would be steal. Personally I would want Vance if he drops to the fourth round, but otherwise it’s Matt in the 6th/7th.