July 07, 2019
One of the truly intriguing young players on the Philadelphia Eagles' roster is tight end Dallas Goedert, the team's second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Playing behind Zach Ertz in his rookie season, Goedert "only" had 33 catches for 334 yards and 4 TDs (he added 2-20-1 in the playoffs), but displayed a well-rounded skill set with no obvious holes in his game. His ability as a receiver wasn't in question coming out of small South Dakota State, where he showed the flare to make highlight reel catches. However, most were resigned to the likelihood that it might take some time for him to come along as a blocker. Nope. He showed in his rookie season that he is already the best blocking tight end on the team.
Because we haven't gotten a chance to see much of Goedert and are still kind of learning what he is as a player, I figured it might make sense to pull video of all of his targets as a rookie:
• The obvious thing that stands out about Goedert as a receiver is his ability to gobble up yards after the catch, and he does it both with power and finesse. On the power side, he fights for every last yard when he has the ball in his hands, and he looks to punish smaller defensive backs whenever he can, particularly near the sideline. On the finesse side, it's almost kind of comical how effective his spin move is for a guy who is 6'5, 256. There are at least three spin moves in the video above (vs. NYG, DAL, and CHI), where he looks like a gigantic running back.
On another note, one small thing that he does is he'll often reach the ball out as he's going down, which will get him an extra yard. Sounds simple, and it is, but you don't see that many players do it consistently.
• His hands are excellent. On Friday we tallied all the Eagles' drops in 2018, and initially had Goedert with none. I forgot to check all the INTs on the season (as opposed to just the incomplete passes), and later realized he had one drop that was picked off. Oops, my bad. Anyway, that was on a big hit after he caught the ball. Still, with that one drop, if you include the playoffs he had a drop rate of 2.8 percent, which is excellent for any player, but especially for a rookie.
• He plays fearlessly. He catches the ball very well in traffic, and isn't afraid of getting hit.
• He's already a good route runner. For example, on his TD against the Cowboys (the one that counted), he sells an outside fake that badly fools Jaylon Smith, then breaks inside and gets wide open.
He also does a great job knowing where to go to help his quarterback when the play is extended. That is a huge feature for a team with a mobile quarterback like Carson Wentz, who can do damage outside the pocket. He does a nice job settling into an open area on his TD against the Panthers after Wentz has to move out of the pocket, and against the Rams, he makes himself available to Nick Foles when a play has broken down.
• He's going to be a matchup nightmare against both safeties and linebackers. Against defensive backs, he knows how to use his big frame. In the Texans game, he's lined up as a wide receiver, and beats a safety to the inside by shielding him off, and then gets yards after the catch. It's simply a physical mismatch. Against the Panthers, Mike Adams should have been called for pass interference in the end zone, when Adams climbed all over him to break up a pass. Again, that wasn't called, but he'll get those calls eventually.
Against linebackers, he's simply more athletic. At the 2018 NFL Combine, Goedert showed excellent measurables.
And it translates to the field. Even when being covered man-to-man by another very athletic rookie in Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch, you can see that Goedert is able to gain and maintain a step on him on a play in which Wentz overshoots him. Teams with linebackers with questionable cover skills are going to get roasted against Goedert and Ertz.
Normally, when we do analyses like these, it's pretty easy to find a handful of negatives on a player. With Goedert, I couldn't find any recurring issues. He's going to be a really good player, and it'll be malpractice if he doesn't play substantially more in 2019.
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