With the addition of fourth-round draft pick Clay Harbor, the Eagles now have four athletic, pass-catching tight ends who are all capable of stretching the field and doing damage with the ball after the catch joining Brent Celek, Cornelius Ingram and Martin Rucker.
The Eagles will also have a bit of a conundrum when training camp arrives. Someone has to be the odd man out, right?
Celek was a Pro Bowl alternate last season after catching 76 passes for 971 yards and eight touchdowns last season, all career highs. The Eagles signed Celek to a six-year contract extension towards the end of last season.
Ingram spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve after tearing the ACL in his knee for a second straight year. Prior to incurring the injury in training camp, Ingram impressed with his fluid athleticism and smooth catching ability. Rucker was promoted to the active roster late last season after beginning the year with the Cleveland Browns. Although he didn't play in any of the four games (including playoffs), Rucker was turning heads in practice each week.
Harbor, the 125th overall pick, played at FCS Missouri State where he caught a school-record 150 catches for 1,906 yards and 10 touchdowns and earned All-America honors three times. Like Ingram and Rucker, Harbor thrived in a spread offense in college and will now make the transition to the Eagles' West Coast scheme. Celek is the anomaly having played in a Mark Dantonio's power-run scheme at Cincinnati.
But where exactly does Harbor fit in? The Eagles only kept two tight ends for most of last season with Celek and the departed Alex Smith. Despite playing at a small school, Harbor is confident that he'll carve out a niche for himself.
"No concerns at all. Brent Celek is a great player and I am looking forward to learning from one of the best in the business," Harbor said. "Obviously if they draft you then they have a plan for you. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play hard and I'm going to work hard. I can do a lot of different things; I can play fullback, slot, halfback, and I plan on doing that. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it. I'm going to make a name for myself on special teams as well. I like to hit people and I'm definitely going to run down the field and make some plays on special teams as well."
General manager Howie Roseman thought to get a talented, versatile player like Harbor in the fourth round was great value, no matter the depth at the position.
"He can really run. He's a strong guy. He's a tough guy. He wants to block," Roseman said. "Quick hands. He's a confident guy. He'll add to the mix. He's a versatile guy. He can be an H-back. He can play along the line of scrimmage. You can split him out wide."
Last season, wide receiver was the position that had to be juggled well into the season because of the depth of talent. It certainly looks like tight end will be that position this season.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:20 p.m., April 28