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Two Veterans Added Who Could Help In 2018

Posted Apr 4, 2018

Two days, two veterans added and the Eagles are taking care of the “need” part of the roster well in advance of the NFL Draft three weeks from now. Signing Paul Worrilow to the linebacker corps provides excellent depth to a unit that has some question marks, and with Worrilow’s 52 NFL starts and his experience playing in the middle and on the outside, the Eagles just got a lot better there. Bringing in Richard Rodgers to the tight end group ...

Two days, two veterans added and the Eagles are taking care of the “need” part of the roster well in advance of the NFL draft three weeks from now. Signing Paul Worrilow to the linebacker corps provides excellent depth to a unit that has some question marks, and with Worrilow’s 52 NFL starts and his experience playing in the middle and on the outside, the Eagles just got a lot better there. Bringing in Richard Rodgers to the tight end group is more than a depth move.

Here's what Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said of Rodgers back in 2015 as Rodgers entered his second season with the Packers: "I have always been a big believer, not just in the red zone but in general (when) you’re attacking in the passing game, the importance of having big people attacking the middle of the field.

"The quickest way to the end zone is through the middle of the field. That’s always been a belief of mine, and it’s really where you start with the vertical passing game. Richard is definitely one of those guys.

"Now, it’s tighter, the steps and the time clock is faster, so it is a whole different training and being a big body, big target, big catch-radius type of individual, that’s something he’ll have an opportunity to excel."

Rodgers put up good numbers in 2015 with 58 receptions and eight touchdowns but, for whatever reason, his role diminished in 2016 (30 receptions, two touchdowns) and in 2017 (12 receptions, one touchdown). Rodgers is an Eagle because he wants to be in a tight end-friendly offense, and the Eagles certainly have that. A big man at 6-4, 257 pounds, Rodgers could be a space taker in the middle of the field and, perhaps, a threat in the red zone. The Eagles wanted to bolster their tight ends with Trey Burton now in Chicago and Brent Celek an unrestricted free agent and Rodgers helps.

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So what role might Rodgers play? There are no guarantees here for the Eagles, or for Rodgers, who agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Wednesday. He’s not the fastest tight end in the game and his blocking is probably right around average, per NFL tight ends. Rodgers knows how to create space with that big frame. He’s a reliable pass catcher and a very solid performer on special teams. Rodgers provides a little something different to the look at tight end. His addition doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t address tight end in the draft, but the team knows it has some veteran stability there behind Pro Bowl player Zach Ertz.

Green Bay wanted to be more dynamic at tight end, and after sifting through some names the Packers went out and signed Jimmy Graham in free agency. Few are more dynamic. And Rodgers isn’t in that class, but he’s a solid pro who has a chance to be the team’s second tight end and play a decent amount. Celek played 41 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2017 and Burton played 27 percent of the offensive snaps. In the NFL, you need more than one tight end – you need more than two, actually – to function with maximum efficiency.

We’re at the point in free agency where teams are looking for role players and low-risk signings. Both Worrilow and Rodgers check those boxes, with plenty of upside based on their veteran experience and understanding of what it takes to win in the NFL. These moves aren’t breaking Twitter, but they are making the Eagles a deeper, more talented, and better football team.

As always, we’ll see how the moves work out. On the surface, and with a bit of a dig beneath it, both Worrilow and Rodgers have chances to do their jobs and win games with the Super Bowl champions. You need players like Worrilow and Rodgers to win in this league, and late in free agency, the Eagles struck deals with two veterans who will have every chance to make an impact in 2018.

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