Eagles looking at under-the-radar tight ends

Eagles looking at under-the-radar tight ends
April 10, 2014, 3:15 pm
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Marcel Jensen (left) and Larry Webster are two possible tight end options the Eagles may consider in the middle to late rounds of the NFL draft. (AP)

We know Chip Kelly likes versatility. We also know he likes tight ends.

It’s no surprise that two versatile tight ends have surfaced on the Eagles’ radar throughout the pre-draft process, neither of which is considered an elite prospect but both viewed as developmental athletes with upside.

Tight ends coach Ted Williams attended Fresno State’s pro day to closely examine tight end Marcel Jensen, according to a league source. Jensen, a 6-foot-6, 259-pound prospect, has ideal NFL size and a tremendous catch radius.

According to Tony Pauline of Draftinsider.net, the Eagles are also expected to bring in Bloomsburg product Larry Webster, a 6-foot-6, 252-pound defensive end who’s working out at tight end for NFL personnel, but according to a league source, no visit is scheduled with the Eagles this week.

Webster worked out mostly as a tight end Thursday at his pro day, Pauline reported on his Twitter timeline.

Both prospects are considered middle-to-late round picks

Despite other pressing needs and good depth at tight end with Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and James Casey, the Eagles could be looking toward the future in the later rounds, or hoping to catch the wave of former basketball players who converted to football and matured into impact weapons.

Jensen and Webster each have basketball backgrounds and started their football careers on the defensive side. Jensen started off at Fresno State as a defensive end before moving to tackle and then tight end.

Jensen, according to the source, spent extra time with Williams, the Eagles’ longtime offensive assistant, after his pro day in film review.

Jensen clocked a 4.85 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and registered an impressive 35-inch vertical jump, second-best at his position. He also has 35-inch arms, which combined with his 6-foot-6 frame, can make him an impact player on special teams. He had four blocked kicks in college.

His role in Fresno State’s offense dropped when the Bulldogs changed from a pro style offense under former coach Pat Hill with spread offense proponent Tim DeRuyter. Jensen caught just 26 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns last year but made second-team All Mountain West.

He sustained a groin injury during his first practice at the Senior Bowl, spoiling a chance to showcase his complete arsenal, but he has experience as an in-line blocker along with split wide, which is increasingly rare as the college game is flooded with spread tight ends who are inexperienced in blocking.

Webster, a finalist for the small-school defensive player of the year honor, played basketball his first two years at Bloomsburg before switching to football. He had 26 sacks his first two years, including a school-record 13.5 in 2012, but has favorable physical attributes to be groomed into a flex tight end.

His father, Larry Webster Sr., played 11 seasons in the NFL as a defensive lineman for the Dolphins, Ravens, Browns and Jets.

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