The Philadelphia Eagles took Zach Ertz, a tight end from Stanford, with the 35th pick in the NFL draft on Friday. Ertz, 6-5, 249 lbs, was considered the second best tight end in the draft.
"Ertz was our top choice coming in," Chip Kelly said. "We just had our fingers crossed."
Ertz finished last season with 69 catches for 898 yards and six touchdowns. He ran a 4.76 40-time at the combine, and was in the top three among tight ends in both the bench press and three cone drill. He earned All-Pac 12 and All-American honors in his final season at Standford.
A strong route runner, Ertz should give the Eagles a legitimate threat in the red zone. He will also provide the Eagles with some serious depth at tight end, with Brent Celek and James Casey already on the roster. Ertz could already be the best athlete of the bunch, however, and could be moved all around the field.
Unless Clay Harbor has a huge training camp, the selection of Ertz likely ends Harbor's time with the team.
One player many thought the Eagles would target, safety Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International, went with the first pick of the second round to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Geno Smith was on the board when the Eagles made their pick, but Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly passed on the West Virginia QB prospect for the second time in as many days.
Bennie Logan, a 6-2, 302 lb defensive tackle from LSU, was the Eagles third round selection on Friday night. Logan joins Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz in the team's 2013 draft class.
After a strong 2011 season, Logan saw his production slip last season. Logan had just two sacks in his final season with the Tigers to go along with 47 tackles. Still, the Eagles insisted that they gave him a second round grade coming into the draft.
One criticism of Logan coming into this year's draft was his lack of improvement from 2011. Many draft experts also pointed to his lack of a go-to-move when it came to rushing the passer. One thing the Eagles liked about Logan, however, was his versatility.
"He'll move around," Kelly said. "He'll get a look at nose tackle, but also some (defensive) end."
Logan is not being brought to Philadelphia to become a premier pass rusher, however. With long arms and a big body, Logan is strong against the run. Combined with Fletcher Cox and Isaac Sopoaga, the Eagles now have three big bodies to plug in the middle of the defensive line.
"You know our mentality," Chip Kelly said of the pick. "Big people beat up little people."
Lost in the translation of the Eagles' picks was the saga of Geno Smith.
Geno's long green-room wait finally ended at pick No. 39 Friday. All Smith has to do now is turn around the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL---the New York Jets.
Smith's toughness and talent will be tested like never before after getting drafted by the Jets in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. If nothing else, he appears to have the requisite confidence for the Big Apple.
"We're going to the playoffs next year," Smith said on NFL Network right after getting drafted.
If that happens, Smith might not just be Offensive Rookie of the Year. He could be league MVP. The Jets have major question marks at guard, wide receiver and tight end. They have six quarterbacks on the roster, including Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Tim Tebow. A quarterback or three is going to get released. Perhaps Sanchez will be one of them.
They have a coach in Rex Ryan who is set up to fail. Ryan is in a must-win year, and he has to balance trying to win with developing a young quarterback. Then again, it's hard to imagine Smith being a worse option than Sanchez, who only still is on the roster because his $8 million salary is guaranteed.
"I think Geno Smith is going to be the starter, Week 1, against Tampa Bay, and I think Mark Sanchez will be there and he will be holding a clipboard," NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said on Friday night.
Smith would be better off sitting and learning on the bench. But he's likely to compete for a starting job in training camp, and the temptation to play him once the Jets start losing will be immense. That possibly would give the Jets the highest paid backup in the NFL in Sanchez if he remained on the roster.
If Ryan can't win this year, Smith likely will have to learn another offensive system with a new coach who inherits him in 2014.
"I just want to come in and compete, I'm going to accept my role on the team whatever it is," Smith told reporters. "I'm going to come in and work ... do my best for my teammates in order to win a Super Bowl."
That delusional quote was so insane I had to call my old friend Regis Philbin, a long-time Jets fan. And here's what Regis had to say about Geno Smith and the Jets:
"THE JETS ARE OUTTA CONTROL !!!!"
So... it's on to Rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday for the Eagles... I'm excited for the value we might find there.
As for our MACH 10 contestants, let it be known that JERKY had Zach Ertz on his MACHer... and DON PARDO had Bennie Logan on his ballot... putting them both right up there in a tie with the top semi-finalists in the race for the MACH 10 Crown.
Tommy Boy Lawlor had both Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz on his "revised" Eagles mock...He conveniently replaced Dion Jordan with Lane Johnson a few days ago... So I've got to acknowledge Lawlor as the only member of our fraternity of fellow fans right now who has two (2) active picks which are on the money. But the reality of MACH 10 LIFE as we know it--- revising one's MACH after initial posting is a no-no. That's what makes the MACH 10 Challenge the most demanding test in all of sports. It's all about timing...and courage.