I love any and all samples. The guy hawking his CD at the mall? Sure, why not. I’ll take a listen. The chocolate tray in front of See’s? Is that a rhetorical question? I rarely buy anything at that time, though. But when I go to Costco? They do such a wonderful job of presentation and location that I’ve actually purchased the goods from time to time. With so much carnage happening in Week Two of the NFL season, our eyes got a sample of many of the replacements, particularly at the tight end position. Below, I will go over four tight ends who moved up the depth chart due to injury. Take a look at the samples and see if purchasing is the right thing to do.
Blake Jarwin of the Dallas Cowboys tore his ACL in Week One. This one brought tears to my eyes, as he was one of my favorite late-round tight ends. The next man up was Dalton Schultz. All he did in Week Two was haul in 9 of 10 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. Schultz is 24 years old, 6′ 5″, and 244 pounds. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 draft out of Stanford. Prior to this year, he had played a total of 27 games and started seven. He caught 13 passes on 18 targets for 122 yards. He runs a 4.76 40-yard dash and has an excellent 11.40 agility score according to Player Profiler, which puts him in the 74th percentile. The situation is a juicy one, as defenses have to contend with Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, so he will be free to roam the belly of defenses. Last season, Dak targeted the tight end position a total of 126 times, with Jason Witten garnering 83 of those. In addition, with injuries to the Cowboys offensive line, shorter targets to Schultz could be more in the offering. The negative is that he’s lower on the totem pole for targets, so production could be volatile week-to-week.
Jack Doyle of the Indianapolis Colts did not play on Sunday due to knee and ankle injuries. It is not known when he was injured, but he did not practice the whole week. Enter Mo Alie-Cox, who is 27 years old, 6′ 5″, and 267 pounds. On Sunday, he led the Colts in receiving with 5 receptions on 6 targets for 111 yards. As I’m sure you’ve heard a million times before, he played college basektball at VCU. He was signed by the Colts in 2017, after not being drafted or playing organized football since high school. He runs a 4.8 40-yard dash and grades out well in speed score (61st percentile), burst score (79th percentile), and catch radius (73rd percentile). Prior to 2020, he had played a total of 27 games and started three, catching 15 passes on 24 targets for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, the Colts targeted the tight end position 141 times, with Doyle leading the group with 72. Rivers didn’t target tight ends much the last two season (98 and 74), but he threw to the tight ends 148 times in 2016, 2015, and 2013. The offensive line is a strength for the Colts, so Alie-Cox won’t be asked to stay in and block often. As long as Doyle is out of action, Alie-Cox is a viable option.
George Kittle sprained the MCL in his left knee during Week One’s game. As a result, Jordan Reed caught 7 passes on 8 targets for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns. I’m curious to see the snap count data but it’s not out as of this writing. Adam Schefter wrote on Sunday night that Kittle could return in Week 3, so this could just be a quickie, but the situation is still murky. In 2015, Reed caught 87 passes on 114 targets for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, so he’s a baller when healthy. And therein lies the issue, as injuries have crippled him over the years.
|2018||Toe Sprain and Fracture||3|
|2017||Hamstring tear, Chest bruise, and Toe fracture||10|
|2016||Shoulder separation and Concussion||4|
|2015||MCL sprain, Concussion, Leg strain, Hamstring pull, and Knee strain||2|
|2014||Hamstring strain and Thumb sprain||5|
|2013||Concussion and Thigh bruise||7|
The 49ers have been hit hard with injuries, so the receiving corp is battered and bruised. In addition, Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain, with Nick Mullens relieving him. If both Kittle and Mullens miss time, Reed could become the alpha. If…if….if. Reports all offseason were glowing about Reed, but the injury history cannot be understated. With that said, the upside is immense.
C. J. Uzomah tore his Achilles on Thursday night. In came Drew Sample, who ended up catching 7 receptions on 9 targets for 45 yards. Sample is 24 years old, 6′ 5″, and 258 pounds. He was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He runs a 4.71 40-yard dash and has impressive speed score (78th percentile), agility score (68th percentile), and catch radius (71st percentile). He was second, behind A. J. Green’s 13 targets, on Thursday night, and could become a favorite of Joe Burrow going forward. The offensive line is, well, offensive, so those shorter routes could become a priority. Now, the Bengals aren’t going to throw the ball 61 times like they did against Cleveland, but they are passing 66.45% of the time, good for seventh in the league.
My favorite out of the group is Sample, as I believe in Burrow, the Bengals will be throwing plenty, and he could be high on the target totem pole.