Chip Kelly surprised many in the football world when he drafted Stanford Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz at the top of the second round last Friday during the 2013 NFL draft.
Over the past four seasons, Oregon and Stanford have battled each other for the top spot in the Pac-12 conference. Former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh is now with the San Francisco 49ers and Kelly, Oregon’s former head coach, is now in Philadelphia.
Last season, Harbaugh drafted Oregon’s stud running back LaMichael James in the second round. James had absolutely blown through Harbaugh’s Cardinal defense in 2010, posting 257 yards and three scores.
No one understands the damage James can do more than Harbaugh.
Kelly’s selection of Ertz must have had the same type of motivation behind it. Kelly had to gameplan against the former Cardinal star numerous times. Last season, Ertz greatly hurt Oregon’s defense, racking up 106 yards and a late touchdown to send the game into overtime.
Now, I believe it is safe to say that Ertz will be successful in Philadelphia for a number of reasons.
First of all, Kelly did not spend a high draft pick on him just to let him sit on the bench. The Eagles also have Brent Celek, but Kelly has had no trouble producing exceptional tight ends in the past.
Ed Dickson and David Paulson often shared time in 2009. In 2011, Paulson often lined up in the same formations as Colt Lyerla, now the Ducks’ starting tight end. In other words, Kelly knows how to get the most talented players onto the field and maximize on their skills.
Even though Celek remains in Philadelphia, Ertz thrived despite the presence of other elite tight ends throughout his
entire Stanford career, sharing time with Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo.
Ertz would have likely been successful anywhere he went simply due to his talent alone. At 6’5” and 250 pounds, he is a matchup nightmare for any defensive back, and has great hands to go along with that size.
The former Stanford standout also runs nice, crisp routes, often finding himself wide open in the gaps of the defense.
Based on his high selection of Ertz, I think it is safe to say that there are no hard feelings on Kelly’s end between himself and his former foe. Expect to see Ertz thrive early and often in Philadelphia.