The pre-Draft evaluation process is one of the most absurd things about the NFL.
When the San Francisco 49ers passed on tight end Zach Ertz with the No. 34 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and later picked Vance McDonald, Ertz’s lack of “arm length” was floated as a major factor.
“I like long arms,” 49ers GM Trent Baalke later admitted. Ertz played under current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, but they still passed on him for another tight end.
Ertz was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 35, and now many think he’s poised for a breakout year. He has nine catches for 177 yards through three weeks.
His arms are 2.75 inches shorter than McDonald’s, but Ertz has been three-times as productive in the NFL.
When asked about his arm length on a conference call this week, Eagles coach Chip Kelly issued this cheeky response (via Yahoo):
“I was unaware that he had short arms. I think they’re long enough to catch a football, because he does a really good job of that.”
Kelly is known as one of the most innovative coaches in the league. We’re guessing he’d know if 2.75-inch arm-length differences were a major determinative factor in NFL success.
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