Eagles Wake-Up Call: Trey Burton At Fullback?
Trey Burton could tell the reporter didn’t believe his answer.
What would you rather play: fullback or tight end?
“It’s the same position.”
“Honestly, yeah. When you see two tight ends line up, one’s the tight end and one’s the fullback. It’s the same exact thing. In the I formation is the only time it’s different. ‘F’ would be, obviously, in the backfield and ‘Y’ would be on the line of scrimmage, but for the most part, same thing. Interchangeable.”
The Eagles signed fullback Ryan Mueller at the beginning of April, but released him last week to help make room for the 16 undrafted free agents the team signed. With Mueller out, no fullback is currently on the roster.
However, Doug Pederson said at the owners meetings in March that he likes the position. He later added that he’d consider utilizing a tight end in that same role instead.
“I also like lining up with a fullback or a tight end in the backfield,” Pederson said. “You’re going to need guys that can lead block a MIKE linebacker. You’re going to need guys that can run power, and trap schemes. I like that style of running. That’s kind of how I grew up in this league.
“There’s a chance [we’ll carry a fullback]. That’s something I want to consider this offseason. We carried one in Kansas City, Anthony Sherman. I also want to see how our tight ends can hold up, if we can utilize that to do the same thing, frees up a roster spot. I’m going to look at that hard this offseason.”
Burton is an interesting candidate to fill that role. Brent Celek and Zach Ertz project to be the pair of tight ends primarily on the field, but if Burton is a good enough blocker, he may be able to earn some snaps in the backfield.
Back in 2014, Burton and his agent didn’t expect him to be drafted, but they figured he could stick around the NFL for several seasons if he showed teams he could fill a variety of roles. That would likely be Pederson’s preference, because it’d save the Eagles a roster spot.
“He’s someone I want to look at there,” Pederson said. “I want to see if he can handle that. I don’t know that answer yet without actually physically putting him in that position. The other thing, too, is there’s no blocking and protection stuff in the spring. You really have to wait until training camp to know if he can hold up back there.”
During the last pre-draft locker room media availability, Burton said he weighs about 245 pounds, which he thinks is the heaviest he can be without sacrificing any of his speed. Burton added that he, Celek and Ertz all have experience at both tight end and fullback, while referencing how he played five different offensive positions at Florida.
Now, that versatility may be the key to Burton earning playing time.
WHAT YOU MISSED
We’re looking for a summer intern.
“I’m excited to be back.” Sam Bradford on ending his holdout.
Tim takes a look at JaCorey Shepherd and the cornerback’s return from injury.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
It will be difficult for Sam Bradford to navigate the mess he’s created, writes Les Bowen of the Daily News.
Teammates didn’t get anything more than (Bradford’s statement his agent released), Eagles sources confirmed, but they really didn’t need more. They are employees, not fans of the team. Most of them don’t know if they’ll be here past this season. They understood a guy trying to do what he thought best for his future, even if, like many of us, they couldn’t quite see themselves taking that particular path. In the weeks ahead, if Bradford seems to be working hard and doing his best, they aren’t going to care if he would really rather be in Denver. So would many of them, truth be told.
But teammates’ reaction to Bradford missing a few weeks of voluntary work is not the only consideration here. Three, four, six months down the road, can the unwieldy Eagles-Bradford-Wentz relationship work?
Is Bradford really going to lead the team, with a talented, charismatic rookie standing behind him, and everyone in town eager to see what the kid can do? That will take a stronger, smoother, more confident, vocal Bradford than we’ve seen.
Bradford is back, but David Murphy is curious about the Eagles’ other needs.
There are rational arguments to be made for and against each of the individual components of the Eagles’ offseason maneuvering at the quarterback position. Taken in totality, though, they make very little sense.
The confusion lies in the fact that the Eagles continue to insist that they expect to compete for a division title this season, even after passing on a golden opportunity to enhance their ability to do so. When evaluating the price the Eagles paid to trade up to No. 2, we tend to focus on the additional draft picks they parted with to facilitate the move, particularly next year’s first-rounder. But just as significant is the opportunity cost they paid.
Instead of using this year’s first-rounder to select a cornerback or offensive lineman who could have filled both an immediate and future need, they spent it on a quarterback whom they do not expect to be ready to take the helm for at least another year or two. Oh, and they threw in two other players who might’ve helped compete this year when they included a third-round pick and fourth-round pick as part of the package of selections that facilitated their move up to No. 2. The reality is that, in addition to future first- and second-round picks, the Eagles effectively traded an offensive lineman like Jack Conklin or a defensive back like Vernon Hargreaves or Eli Apple for Carson Wentz.
We’ll take a spin around the country to see what people are saying about the Birds.