Zach Ertz TE Stanford #86
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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a traditional tight end. He has the size to contribute as a blocker. Height can make him an asset as a possession receiver. A physical runner with the ball in his hands. Not very elusive, but he’ll break some tackles and drag defenders for an extra yard or two.
Separation Skills: Adequate straight-line speed, but not enough to stretch the field. Not exceptionally quick in his breaks, and won’t shake free of the better coverage linebackers at the next level. Slow off the line of scrimmage and takes time to get up to full speed. His limited speed and athleticism makes him strictly a possession receiver. Doesn’t seem to have great field awareness; he missed some opportunities to find the soft spot in zone coverage.
Ball Skills: Fairly reliable hands, but he’ll drop some easy ones along the way. Looks stiff and doesn’t show the athleticism necessary to adjust to the poorly thrown ball. Slightly smaller hands than the average tight end and it shows in the way he struggles to quickly secure the football sometimes. He has too many double catches, which will lead to more drops at the next level when more of his receptions are contested.
Blocking: Gives a reasonable effort as a blocker, but struggles to sustain his blocks. Also whiffs far too often, especially when going for a cut block, which really shouldn’t necessary in the first place given his size.
Intangibles: Has a reputation as a team leader.
Durability: Missed time with a knee injury in 2011.
Comments: Ertz has been hyped up as a true pass-catching tight end but that evaluation is more based on his stats than his actual performance. He’s limited athletically, especially compared to the new breed of tight ends in the NFL. He has the size and strength to contribute, and could definitely start for some teams, but he isn’t a difference maker. He and Tyler Eifert have drawn comparisons, but Eifert is well ahead of Ertz in my evaluations of the two.