July 08, 2023
Over the next three or so weeks (basically whenever there isn't other news to cover), we'll take a look at every player on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster, and how they fit with the team heading into training camp. Today we'll look at the tight ends.
Previous training camp previews
There's probably no need to show the depth chart. They're basically in order (as I see it) below:
Goedert was on his way to a 1,000-yard season when a Washington defender tried to rip his head off of his body, causing a fumble and a significant shoulder injury. Instead, he finished with 55 catches for 702 yards (12.8 YPR) and three TDs. He likely would have made the Pro Bowl, if not for an idiotic NFL rule that players on injured reserve cannot be voted in.
In the playoffs, Goedert had 16 catches for 141 yards and a TD, including a pair of difficult, crucial catches in the Super Bowl.
Over the last two seasons, while he has not gotten a target share on the same level as guys like Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews, Goedert has been one of the most efficient players in the NFL. Here are the top 10 NFL leaders in yards per target over the last two seasons (minimum 50 receptions):
|Player||Yards per target|
|Dallas Goedert, Eagles||10.6|
|Kendrick Bourne, Patriots||10.5|
|Tyler Lockett, Seahawks||9.9|
|Justin Jefferson, Vikings||9.8|
|Tee Higgins, Bengals||9.7|
|Cooper Kupp, Rams||9.5|
|Ja'Marr Chase, Bengals||9.5|
|George Pickens, Steelers||9.5|
|Deebo Samuel, 49ers||9.5|
|A.J. Brown, Eagles||9.5|
It's pretty crazy for a tight end to lead the NFL in that metric over a span of two seasons. He makes the most of the targets that come his way, he blocks, and he's generally unselfish. He is the perfect No. 3 option in the passing game on a juggernaut offense.
Including the playoffs, Stoll played 658 snaps in 2022, mostly as a blocking tight end. He finished with 11 catches for 123 yards and 0 TDs, which makes sense with the star power at the skill positions in the Eagles' offense. There probably isn't a lot of upside with Stoll as a receiver, but Eagles seem to really like/trust him in his role.
Calcaterra was a 2022 sixth-round pick. He missed a big chuck of his rookie season training camp with various injuries, and played 250 snaps on the season, with a spike in action when Dallas Goedert was on injured reserve for five games. He finished with 5 catches on 9 targets for 81 yards.
Calcaterra is a smaller tight end at 6'4, 240, with decent 4.62 speed. In 2022 camp, he showed some receiving chops, but it was pretty clear that he is not going to be a guy who lines up in-line and moves defenders in the run game. Still, as we showed in a review of Calcaterra's season in June, there were some moments last season where the Eagles' offensive staff found ways to make Calcaterra contribute positively as a run blocker by using his athleticism to get the second level to block linebackers and defensive backs.
Positive contributions can come slowly for young tight ends in the NFL, so it will be interesting to see if Calcaterra can make a second-year leap in 2023.
Arnold entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted wide receiver with New Orleans, but the Saints eventually converted to him to tight end. He got waived during the 2019 season, and was picked up by the Cardinals. In his fourth year in 2020, Arnold had something of a breakout season, catching 31 passes for 438 yards and 4 TDs. He caught 68.9 percent of the passes that came his way that season, and had an impressive 9.7 yards per target.
Arnold signed with the Panthers during the 2021 season, but was traded to Jaguars after just three games in Carolina. He has been unable to build on his breakout 2020 season the last two seasons.
Arnold is 6'6, 240, and he has good athleticism (4.63 40, 39 1/2" vert, 6.81 3-cone), so he could be a legitimate threat to make the 53-man roster.
Entering 2021 training camp, Jackson was thought of as an intriguing developmental player who was transitioning from quarterback to tight end. At 6'7, 249 pounds, Jackson has excellent size for the position, and athleticism to go along it with. However, being new to the position, it was expected that progress would come along slowly.
Jackson exceeded expectations, making several nice plays each day throughout camp, while showing surprisingly good hands and continuously improved route running, to the point where he was looking like a lock to make the team. Unfortunately, Jackson injured his back (an 8-10 week injury) during joint practices against the Patriots, causing him to miss eight regular season games. In the Eagles' meaningless Week 18 game against Dallas, Jackson caught his first career TD pass, but he also tore an ACL later in that game.
He started the 2022 season on the PUP list, and he was activated in October. He appeared in five games, playing 34 snaps in the regular offense, with no targets, before landing on injured reserve in December.
Jackson will probably have one last chance in 2023 to prove that (a) he can stay healthy, and (b) look like the intriguing prospect he was in 2021.
Russell had 20 catches for 153 yards (7.7 YPC) on an abysmal Colorado team in 2022. He was a team captain, is thought of as a good blocker, and got an invite to the Senior Bowl. He's the guy with the long hair:
Jack Stoll didn't have much in the way of college stats when the Eagles signed him as a UDFA in 2021, and he made the team, so perhaps there's some hope for Russell.
Keene was a player we profiled back in 2020, when he was a versatile piece who lined up all over the formation for Virginia Tech. He probably wasn't used as much as he should have been in their offense (21-240-5 in 2019), given his good athleticism, soft hands, and ability to fight through tacklers for extra yardage. (I liked him as a mid-late Day 3 prospect, as a guy who could maybe fill a Trey Burton type of role.)
The Patriots selected him in the third round of the 2020 draft, after they had already taken another tight end in the third round. However, Keene has not produced in the NFL. In 2020, he had 3 catches for 6 yards on 5 targets. He missed the entire 2021 season with a torn meniscus, and did not make the Pats' 53-man roster in 2022.
The hope for Keene would be that he's fully healthy (?) now, and can get a late start as a productive NFL player.