It’s a major leap from South Dakota State to the NFL, but rookie tight end Dallas Goedert has not looked out of place with the defending Super Bowl champions.
Goedert has made an impression on coaches and teammates alike with the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded up in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft to take him with the No. 49 overall pick.
The Eagles already have a top-flight starter in tight end Zach Ertz, but they had a major need at the position after releasing veteran backup Brent Celek and losing Trey Burton via free agency.
Goedert, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, has been hard to miss on and off the field during Philadelphia’s offseason workouts.
“He’s really smart. High football I.Q. guy,” Ertz told Philly.com. “He’s picked up the offense extremely well. He keeps it light in the meeting room. He’s starting to come out of his shell.
“When you’re a rookie — especially with me, I’m so serious all the time — you’re serious at the beginning. But now he’s kind of let his personality show and he’s fun to be around.”
That Personality aside, the Eagles drafted Goedert with some rather lofty expectations. Sure, he may be pencilled in as a backup, but Goedert figures to be on the field often for a team that loves to utilize two- and three-tight end formations.
“The athleticism right now that you see pops,” Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s getting a lot better in his detail of his routes. … He (has) great hands. He’s a big target, made some plays in the red zone.”
That athleticism is among the reasons that NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler listed Goedert as the top small-school prospect from non-FBS programs entering the draft.
Goedert posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for South Dakota State in 2016-17 while reeling in 13 touchdown receptions in that span. According to Philly.com, Goedert averaged 8.2 yards after the catch last season.
“He’s bigger than I am, for sure,” said Ertz. “He’s definitely been using his body well. It stood out. He’s leaning on guys, creating separation, using his body and his frame.”
Despite his size, Goedert expects the physical aspect of the position — “I love that stuff,” he said — to be among the more daunting challenges once the players are going full bore. But he said he has not felt out of place in camp.
“I feel like (I’m) getting more comfortable with the offense, getting more comfortable with the NFL tempo,” said Goedert. “I feel like I’ve improved quite a bit since rookie minicamp, so it feels good to be out there basically knowing what you’re doing on every play, not halfway guessing.”