With the news that free agent LJ Smith has indeed signed with the Ravens, the Eagles tight end position looks even weaker now more than in ’08. As unit the Birds’ tight ends caught 66 passes for 626 yards (9.5 ypc) and only 4 TDs. Sure…. the Eagles couldn’t have used Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez (96 rec, 1058 yards, 11.0 ypc, and 10 TDs in ’08) at the trade deadline last year for the cost of a 2nd rounder — but I digress.
With an emphasis on getting better in the redzone, the tight end position must be addressed immediately. In the draft there are possibilities (Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew, Ball State’s Darius Hill, Ball State, Florida’s Cornelius Ingram, and Rice’s James Casey). But given the Birds affinity for working most rookies in slow, maybe they should look for a veteran in a trade. It so happens that Broncos TE Tony Scheffler has fallen out of favor with the team’s management (i.e. new head coach Josh McDaniels) and is on the trading block.
Scheffler (40 rec, 645 yards, 16.1 ypc, and 3 TDs with a long of 72 yards in ’08) is not attending Broncos OTA’s and he shares the same agent (Bus Cook) as unhappy quarterback Jay Cutler, so a trade seems imminent. The 25-year old tight end from Western Michigan has rare vertical skills, can find the soft spot in zones, and has very good hands, so maybe the Birds could part with one of their 12 picks (possibly a 3rd or 4th rounder) to bring him in.