Former NFL head coach Brian Billick and current FOX Sports contributor Brian Billick praised Stanford tight end Zach Ertz on Tuesday, comparing the 2013 NFL Draft entrant to one of the league's best, young, natural pass catching tight ends: Jermaine Gresham.
#Stanford's Ertz similar to Gresham. Both 6'5, natural hands catchers, quicker than fast, great body positioning & versatile in alignment.— Brian Billick (@CoachBillick) March 26, 2013
Gresham was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has steadily improved in each of his three seasons, and in 2012 he caught 64 passes for 737 yards and five touchdowns in 16 regular season games.
Ertz would do well to emulate the 24-year-old Gresham. He has an outside shot of landing in a similar spot in the draft as Gresham in late April. Ertz doesn't appear in the first round of the SB Nation's latest mock draft, but he isn't far off. Currently, he ranks as SB Nation's No. 2 tight end prospect in the draft behind Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, who is projected to go No. 12 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
There were some questions about Ertz's speed after the NFL Combine, but he responded with a solid 4.57 in the 40-yard dash at Stanford pro day. He, unfortunately, can't fix his short arms. At a position that combines the responsibilities of a pass-catcher and a blocker, long arms are helpful. Ertz's arms measured in at 31 3/4 inches in Indianapolis, which was well shorter than the norm. Gresham's arms, for example, measured in at 34 3/4 inches during the 2010 Combine.
Just how much his lack of length affects Ertz's draft status remains to be seen. There are plenty of good reasons why he is consistently mentioned among the best at his position, however. Ertz may have to wait until Day 2, but don't expect him to wait too long.