Why Ertz is on the list
Dipped as a rookie into the NFL's most creative offense last season, Ertz's growth down the stretch makes him one of the safest "leap" candidates we'll feature this offseason.
"You saw in the second half of the season what kind of went on," Ertz said. "I was used all over the field."
Making the Leap in 2014
Watching all of Ertz's targets, I left impressed with his ability to puncture coverage and give his quarterback a window to throw to. He doesn't possess blazing speed, but Ertz is a physical after-the-catch receiver with the ability to punish smaller cover men.
He's certainly helped by playing in an offense that wears down opponents with tempo, but Ertz helps the Eagles with his ability to high-point receptions and win battles in coverage. While watching his rookie tape, I couldn't help but think: He's just getting started.
"There are three players that I told that they would be great players in this league," Michael Vick told Philadelphia magazine in December. "I always told Alge Crumpler that he was going to be great, I always told Shady McCoy that he was going to be a great player in this league, and I always told Roddy White. And now I'm saying Zach Ertz."
In Kelly's innovative-offensive machine, Philly's young tight end has the potential to move beyond comparisons into territory of his own.
Through the air, Ertz logged just three games with five-plus receptions. It's not a knock, but he lacks the explosion and speed of a Jimmy Graham on film. This is a player who must continue to craft his game and learn to win battles for the tough yards.
"I think Zach can have a huge role," Kelly said in May, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.
At 6-feet-5 and 250 pounds, Ertz has the physical tools to make a larger contribution in the passing game. Generating a 36/469/4 line off fewer than half of Philly's snaps, he's a solid bet to reach 60 grabs for 850 yards and eight touchdowns.
Ertz will make fantasy owners quite content come September.