If anyone is qualified to make an expert judgment on tight ends, it’s Patriots linebackers and defensive backs, and both agree Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is primed for a breakout season.
“He’s a good player. He’s a great player,” defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones, a 2012 first-round pick, said. “He’s very athletic. He’s faster than I thought. I feel like he’s more of a skill player than anything. He runs his routes very well. I’ve had the opportunity to cover him for these two days of practice, and he’s been a handful.”
Ertz even shined in a rare joint walkthrough that featured a round of red-zone 7-on-7s in pads. With the second-string offense, Mark Sanchez connected with Ertz on three straight touchdowns, each tightly covered and with Ertz using his size or an elusive move to create separation.
“He’s a good tight end, an athletic guy, stretches the field,” Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty said. “Really, I think, understands how to get open against good defenses. That’s always good work when you can go against good tight ends. They have a bunch of them. At the safety position we got some pretty good work going against them the past two days.”
Snaps are the only real thing standing in Ertz's way. He is still behind Brent Celek since Celek is a better blocker, but Ertz will make his presence felt in the passing game. He has top 5 potential if he can work his way into starter's snaps.