Head coach Chip Kelly was right when he said he "unfortunately" knew tight end Zach Ertz, the Eagles' second-round pick out of Stanford.
On November 18, 2012, Kelly's Oregon Ducks, the No. 1 team in the nation, were stunned by Ertz's Stanford Cardinal 17-14 in overtime. It was the Ducks' only loss of the season as they would finish ranked No. 2 in the nation. Of course, there was a controversial call involved. With 1:35 remaining in the game, Ertz caught a pass in the back of the end zone and tried to control it as his shoulder slid out of bounds. Referees initially ruled the pass incomplete, but a video replay overturned the call and Ertz' touchdown would tie the game. Who knows how events would have unfolded if Oregon had a chance to win the National Championship?
When the Eagles met with Ertz prior to the draft, Kelly's first question was whether it was a catch.
"Of course it was a catch," Ertz said.
Kelly's response was, "All right. The film doesn't lie."
The debate didn't end there. Ertz sent Kelly a handwritten note after the meeting to thank the Eagles for taking the time to meet with him. At the end of the note, Ertz left a postscript that read, "It was a catch."
"At the end of the day, I wanted to remind him what happened when we played against him and to make sure I got the last laugh," said Ertz.
Kelly is relieved that he will get to scheme ways to utilize the 6-5, 249-pound vertical threat who has drawn comparisons to Jason Witten. Kelly loves the mismatches that Ertz will create for opposing defenses.
"They used him in a multiple variety. They used him as a single receiver on the trips set. He was by himself isolated on the DB. They used him as a tight end. They used him as a H-back. They used him as a move guy," Kelly said. "They used him all over the place. You couldn't isolate him in one certain spot."
The Eagles had a first-round grade on Ertz and held their breath when Tennessee leapfrogged them into the No. 34 position. The Eagles breathed a sigh of relief when the Titans turned in their card for Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Ertz was the player on top of the Eagles' board entering the second day of the draft. Kelly has no problem finding a spot for Ertz even if it means playing three tight ends.
"If you want to go big and put linebackers on the field, I think we have pass mismatches for you. If you want to go small and put DBs on the field, we got a mismatch in the run game. It's a great weapon and a great tool to have," Kelly said. "He's a quality individual."
Ertz prides himself in being a complete tight end and looks at the Eagles as a "perfect spot" for him.
"I know Coach Kelly is a great offensive mind. He'll find a way to get myself and some of the other tight ends involved. I know there's a lot of great offensive skill positions on the team. I just look forward to joining them," Ertz said. "I was thrilled to see that number pop up on my phone."
Now that Ertz and Kelly are working towards the same cause, Kelly finally conceded. When Kelly called Ertz to tell him that the Eagles were selecting him, he finally admitted, "I guess it was a catch."
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