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Green Zone League Articles

NFC East -- Position Analysis: Tight Ends
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com





This is the fourth in a series of articles, in which I will break down each team in the NFC East, position by position. Itís been about a month since I wrote one of these, but felt it was overdue. At first I thought Iíd do the Offensive Lines next, but that felt pretty daunting, so Iím going with the Tight Ends. Up next (maybe, maybe not), the O-Lines!

DALLAS COWBOYS

Tyler Eifert, Michael Williams

Tyler Eifert is not the flashiest Tight Ends in the game, but one of the more well-rounded young Tight Ends out there. One of only 4 Tight Ends with STR of 80 or more, Eifert is rarely bullied at the line of scrimmage. Though he lacks good speed with a rather pedestrian 76 SPD, the combination of attributes he possesses is among the more impressively balanced in the league. Eifert has translated these skills into production and is 5th among TEs in yards and 9th in receptions. Further, Eifert is an exceptional blocker, (60 PBK, 68 RBK), one of only two TEs with such skills. Ironically, the only other TE with these blocking attributes is teammate Michael Williams. At 6í6Ē, 269 lbs, Williams is a beast of a player whose attributes are almost closer to a Guard than a Tight End. His 73 PBK and 73 RBK make him far and away the most skill blocking TE in the game. His 70 SPD means that there arenít too many Tight Ends that are slower, but Williams was drafted to maul defenders on the line, not catch passes.

Grade: A


NEW YORK GIANTS

Stuart Forstyte, Cornelius Ingram, Philip Lutzenkirchen

The Giants Tight End situation has been in flux since Kevin Boss left. Each of the three Tight Ends has lead the team in successive years, with second year Stuart Forstyte currently starting. Forstyte was drafted in the 3rd round in 2014 and has recently supplanted Cornelius Ingram at the top of the depth chart. While Ingram may be faster and stronger, Forstyte is younger and a better blocker. With a respectable 82 SPD, Forstyte can motor, especially for his size (6í3Ē, 241 lbs). However, his anemic 53 STR is 99th out of 101 amongst all active Tight Ends. Still, he has given up zero sacks, so it has yet to impact New Yorkís passing game. Forstyte has only 16 catches on the year, but hasnít played much until late in the season. Ingram lead the team in receptions last year after four relatively unproductive years in Tampa Bay. Possessing a nice combo of speed (84) and strength (65), he is arguably the better Tight End. However, Ingram is 30 and may soon lose a step. Ingramís biggest weaknesses are his awareness (65) and relatively poor pass blocking skills. Ingram is also an injury risk. Third-stringer Philip Lutzenkrichen is slow, but strong and the best blocker in the group. In 2013 he lead the Tight Ends with 39 receptions.


Grade: B-

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

DJ Williams, Clay Harbor

DJ Williams is one of only 9 Tight Ends that can boast a combination of 83 SPD and 74 STR. Only seven TEs in the league are faster than Williams, and of those only 1 is younger. In short, heís the real deal. Williams also has great hands (97 CTH) and is a respectable blocker, especially in the running game (57 RBK). Since coming into the league as a 2nd rounder in 2012 he has been a strong producer, and is currently hitting his stride, on pace for almost 60 catches. If thereís a knock on Williams, itís his below average agility and acceleration, though it hasnít seemed to slow him down. Backing up Williams is Clay Harbor, who previously was the Eaglesí starting Tight End. In 2011 Harbor was 5th in the league in receptions, though managed a meager 9.5 yards per catch and 0 TDs. Still, Harborís game is based on speed (85 SPD) and the 28-year old has exceptional hands (96 CTH). However, Harbor is one of the weaker TEs in the game (54 STR) and has very low awareness (51 AWR).


Grade: A-

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Levine Toilolo, Bobby Racine

The Redskins have some of the worst Tight End play in the league. Itís a simple as that. Levine Toilolo is the current starter, but besides his immense size (6í8Ē, 260) he brings little to the table. A 6th round pick this year, Toilolo has managed 33 receptions thus far and a respectable 11.0 ypc average. But Toiloloís physical attributes are plainly lacking and itís no wonder he lasted so late in the draft. With only 70 SPD and 69 STR, there is little that suggests he will develop into a stud Tight End. Additionally, his big body wonít help too much in pass protection with a slightly below average PBK of 47. Last yearís starter, Bobby Racine is also on the roster, and in many ways Racine is like Toilolo. Both are 6í8Ē and around 260 lbs. Racine, however, is even slower than Toilolo (64 SPD) making him the slowest TE on a roster. No wonder he lasted until the 7th round. However, his 75 STR is fairly respectable, among the 20 best in the league. Racine is also a slightly above average blocker. He has, however, hands of stone (69 CTH). Despite these shortcomings, Racine did manage 61 receptions as a rookie in 2014.

Grade: D+
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