Draft day three: A look at potential late round tight end fits
12 March 2018 DRAFT
As we get closer to the start of free agency, the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles will be faced with some tough roster decisions. The longest tenured Eagle, Brent Celek is at risk of getting cut if he can not restructure his deal. This will leave a huge hole in the tight end #2 position that Doug Pederson loved to use last season. Speaking of money, Trey Burton is in for a huge payday, so he is as good as gone.
While many speculate that the Eagles may go after a veteran to fill the void, I believe the later rounds of the 2018 Draft would be a great spot to pick up a young tight end. Obviously the big names like Hayden Hurst and Mike Gesicki will be gone, but there is a plethora of sleepers that could develop into solid NFL players, especially under Doug. The Eagles scouting team spent tons of time at this years combine interviewing tight ends, which leads me to believe that the position is a focal point in this years’ draft strategy.
The first thing to remember about the #2 tight end position for the Eagles is the ability and willingness to block. Fumagalli, has a massive frame, standing at six-foot-six and weighing 247lbs. He is regarded as a capable blocker by teammates, scouts, and coaches. Even though he lost a finger due to a birth defect, Fumagalli has been efficient in the passing game as well. Even in a run-heavy Wisconsin offense, Fumagalli was able to catch 46 pass for 547 yards and four touchdowns.
Even though he suffered a somewhat serious foot injury at the start of training camp, Central Michigan’s Tyler Conklin was able to put together a nice season in 2017. The former collegiate basketball player was able to catch 35 passes for 504 yards and five touchdowns during his senior campaign. Conklin is strong in the blocking game as well. He has great toughness and uses his hands as well as anyone in this draft to create holes for running backs. He has lost some acceleration after the injury, but if he is able to regain the form that had many believing he could be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, he could prove to be a steal for the Birds in the later rounds.
The guy I like the most for the Eagles in this draft is Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe. Smythe also boast a solid combination of size and speed. While Conklin and Fumagalli are regarded as a good blocker, blocking comes way more naturally to Smythe. Smythe can stay inline and help on the inside runs as well as stretch out and provide big blocks down the sideline. A knock on Smythe is his receiving ability. With that being said, he would walk into a system with a great offensive coach and one of the leagues best receiving tight ends in Zach Ertz. Taking a chance with Smythe in the fourth round and allowing him to learn from some of the best offensive minds could pay off huge for the Eagles.