Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eagles Have a Log Jam at Tight End


There’s been much talk about the Philadelphia Eagles’ tremendous depth. There are multiple, young cornerbacks that are waiting in the wings, as there are talented receivers backing up DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Even the depth at quarterback is respectable in Vince Young and Mike Kafka.

But not too many people are talking about the tight ends.

Maybe it’s because Brent Celek is the clear-cut starter. Or because the other tight ends vying for a spot on the roster are unknowns around the league.

Aside from Celek, there are four tight ends that all have the making to play this season; whether or not that is for the Eagles or for another NFL team is to be determined.

The lone returning tight end to this team (besides Celek) is Clay Harbor. He has had his fair share of impressive moments so far in training camp, many of which have come via Kafka, who appears to have developed some chemistry with the second-year man out of Missouri State.

In limited action, Harbor compiled 72 yards and one touchdown on nine receptions. To improve his chances of making the team and seeing more opportunities, Harbor added 10 pounds in order to become a better blocking option.

And then there’s Donald Lee, who was signed this offseason after the Green Bay Packers decided to part ways with him. When healthy, Lee is a dangerous receiver over the middle. From 2007 to 2009, Lee racked up 37 or more receptions in each of those three seasons and amassed 12 touchdowns between that timeframe. Once again, he needs to stay healthy in order to contribute to this team; however, he appears to be in good shape and focused on returning to his former self.

Another acquisition this offseason was undrafted free agent Martell Webb out of Michigan. Webb is an interesting prospect. He has potential, yet didn’t play much at Michigan, making just three starts in 38 career games. However, he found other ways to contribute to the Wolverines: special teams and blocking.

Oddly enough, Webb was a top 20 wide receiver coming out of high school; clearly, he has the tools to be a receiving tight end if developed properly. His chances of making the Eagles squad aren’t very high, but he should find another spot around the league if he does, indeed, get cut.

Speaking of auditioning for other teams, Cornelius Ingram, who has multiple ACL surgeries, is doing just that. Perhaps one of the most talented tight ends in college football during his time at Florida, Ingram suffered an ACL tear his senior year that drastically dropped his stocked; to add to that, Ingram missed out on his rookie season with another ACL surgery.

He appears to be in great shape at camp, but because of the injury concerns and the aforementioned log jam at tight end, Ingram will most likely land with another team before the season opens. If that fails, he will probably find a spot on a practice squad somewhere.

When all is said and done, Celek, Harbor and Lee will most likely be the active tight ends come Week One, while Webb and Ingram should be able to hop aboard another team’s depth chart.

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