Tempering Expectations for Eagles Rookie TE Dallas Goedert

The addition of Dallas Goedert could make an already potent Eagles offense even more dynamic – just not necessarily right away.

It's easy to project Goedert plugging into the lineup and experiencing immediate success. The 23-year-old was uber-productive in college, racking up 164 receptions for 2,404 yards with 18 touchdowns over his junior and senior seasons. While that was at FCS South Dakota State, he's also 6-foot-5 with good speed and a 35-inch vertical, drawing comparisons to Chiefs Pro Bowler Travis Kelce and the Eagles' own Zach Ertz.

Most of all, Goedert has an opportunity to contribute from Day 1 because the Eagles have an opening at the No. 2 tight end spot behind Ertz. It seems like the perfect situation for him to walk into.

Except the reality is rookie tight ends rarely produce at elite or even middling levels. Historically, a strong debut season is upwards of 40 receptions, 500 yards and five touchdowns. The overwhelming majority are far less productive.

There have been some outliers. Eagles great Keith Jackson comes to mind, his 81 receptions in 1988 still standing as the NFL record for rookie tight ends. Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski is already in the history books as well with 12 touchdowns his first season with the Patriots. Just last season, Evan Engram finished with an impressive 64 catches, 722 yards and six touchdowns for the Giants, all good for top 10 all-time.

So, it can be done. It's also a lot rarer than, say, a rookie running back or wide receiver posting gaudy numbers, or even a quarterback.

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Maybe Goedert will break the mold, too. The physical ability is there. He moved around the offense quite a bit in college, demonstrating a skillset Eagles coach Doug Pederson will be tempted to get creative with.

It also remains to be seen how much Goedert is on the field as a rookie. Some of that will be based on how rapidly he develops and can overtake veteran Richard Rodgers for the No. 2 tight end job. Some of that boils down to how the Eagles juggle personnel groupings, as the offense likely sticks with three wide receivers as a base package.

Any way you slice it, Goedert's snaps are going to be limited in some manner. Then there's a learning curve on top, especially coming from an FCS school.

Looking back on Ertz's rookie season as a fellow second-round draft pick, he finished with 36 receptions, 469 yards and four touchdowns in the No. 2 role. Different coaching staff, different offense, but numbers in line with what a tight end prospect of that caliber can usually expect.

Granted, few people if anybody are probably expecting Goedert to light the world on fire in 2018. The Eagles are loaded on offense, and Ertz is coming off a Pro Bowl season.

Then again, on fanfare alone, you might not anticipate a quiet debut from Goedert. Maybe it won't be, or if it is, the handful of big plays he does come up with still provide a pivotal spark for the offense, particularly inside the red zone.

From the perspective of how rookie tight ends normally perform, the Eagles could wind up bringing Goedert along slowly.

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