There is no questioning Zach Ertz’s productivity at Stanford. A natural pass-catcher who adjusts well to the ball, Ertz led all college tight ends in receiving yards in 2012 despite starting just five of 14 games. He was versatile, playing out wide and in a more traditional in-line tight end role as well as out of the slot and even some fullback. Ertz has decent speed but is more quick than fast, a solid route runner who consistently found a way to get open—especially in zone coverage.
However, scouts are far from unanimous on what exactly Ertz brings to the table. Is he a dynamic hybrid tight end with a track record of productivity capable of putting up Brent Celek- or Brandon Myers-type numbers? Or was Ertz’s success due largely to Stanford’s schemes, hiding the lack of burst and explosion revealed at the Combine and dooming him to limited productivity at the NFL level?
Ertz will definitely need to improve as a blocker if he is to fill a traditional in-line tight end role in the pros, but Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia offense may not require him to handle that role. The Eagles currently have three high-profile tight ends (Ertz, Celek, James Casey), so unless that herd is thinned prior to the start of the season it’s difficult to see any of them making a significant fantasy splash in 2013.