When Stanford began its transformation into a top flight Division I program, it came with players like Zach Ertz in mind. While most of the NCAA focused on shifty quick players in space, they wanted to go two and three tight ends with size that would present a different kind of match up problem. He was first team PAC-12, John Mackey finalist, and All American Tight End as a junior with an impressive blend of size, strength, and speed. He was overshadowed as a sophomore by Colt’s second round pick Colby Fleener, but may end up being the better pro in the long run.
6’ 6” 249 lbs.
What jumps out on film when watching Ertz is his strong hands that he consistently uses to catch the ball. He was often adjusting his junior year to balls that lacked the proper ball placement he must have been used to when Mr. Luck was the signal caller. This didn’t stop him from producing and in fact he thrived. He was able to do this with solid sudden route running to get separation. His separation was often on display in scramble drill. This is increasingly important in today’s NFL with some many quarterbacks that can extend the play.
Whether it is blocking for RGIII or continuously working to get open for Ben Roethlisberger, this is a trait that I find very appealing. He never gives up on a play that comes back to the ball for his quarterback and catches the ball in traffic. He sells the play action fake that Stanford’s offense thrived on to get open in the second level in front of the safeties but overtop of linebackers consistently.
His football intelligence was often on display with all of the different roles he performed at Stanford. They lined him up all over the field whether it was slot, flanked out, H back or in line tight end.
He was a very good blocking tight end in college. His technique and effort is apparent as he gets good leverage with elite knee bend. He can effectively wall off defenders that can be very effective in a zone blocking scheme.
While he was split out wide at times, it is not a strong suit as he is much more comfortable working the middle of the field. He has average top end speed but isn’t going to out run NFL defenders consistently. In traffic catches were adequate but he could’ve been better and he did have some drops that is hard to explain because of his approach.
As a blocker, you have to give him credit for his technique but he is currently limited because of his lower body strength. He will have to build up his legs to sustain blocks in the NFL but based upon his physical maturation in college, I believe you can only expect him to continue to develop.
Ertz is projected to go between picks 20-40. He is more of a second round talent that is being pushed up because he is a plug and play starter day one that has the look of an unspectacular ten year starter. He reminds me a bigger longer framed Owen Daniels.
Prospect Profile completed by:
Justin Fink is DraftInsider’s Head Scout for TE/LBs
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