Coach: Ertz among 'best route-runners I've ever seen'


We've spent all offseason banging the table for Zach Ertz.

The Philadelphia Eagles tight end was an obvious choice for "Making the Leap" after surging down the stretch last season in a Chip Kelly-led offense that used the rookie all over the field.

The knock on Ertz was his blocking, a limited trait that kept him out of the picture when Philly went run-heavy as the cold set in. After using this offseason to add bulk and improve his in-line play, Ertz should see a generous increase in snaps come September.

"You knew when you watched him in college that he had the chance to be something special," Eagles tight ends coach Ted Williams said this week, per the Philadelphia Daily News. "He's one of the best route-runners I've ever seen. He takes a lot of pride in that.

"He has a lot of confidence. He's hard to defeat, because he doesn't take defeat very well. He feels, 'You can't cover me.'"

Game Rewind shows a versatile mover who wins battles in space. Ertz doesn't possess game-breaking speed, but he's strong at the point of the catch, which his quarterbacks have come to trust: 25 of his 36 catches last season triggered first downs.

Kelly told reporters in May that Ertz was primed for a "huge role" this autumn, tabbing the second-round pick as the likely benefactor of DeSean Jackson's exodus to Washington. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Ertz has the size and build to do it all for Philly in Year 2.

He's worth your time as a fantasy pick and a strong candidate to cross the 60-catch, 850-yard barrier this season. Second-year NFL campaigns have been kind to tight ends, and we expect Ertz to keep that pattern alive in 2014.

The "Around The NFL Podcast" has takeaways from every team after Week 3 of the preseason.