In today’s society and media, especially in sports, fans and experts come down on decisions fairly quickly. After all, it is a results-based business. The best example of this would be calling Jared Goff a bust after seven games during his rookie season.
While Goff may have been an anomaly, not many quarterbacks have come back and succeeded after the season that he had, it still doesn’t excuse not giving him a chance going into his sophomore year.
Call it a hot take or whatever you will, that doesn’t make it fair.
Early judgment not fair to Everett
The same now can be said about Rams tight end Gerald Everett. After his rookie campaign of just 16 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns, some fans are writing him off.
Considering his success with Jordan Reed in Washington, it was thought that McVay would utilize the tight end in Los Angeles as well and Everett would be a featured part in the offense. To say that wasn’t the case would be an understatement.
While Everett struggled to get involved with the Rams, Evan Engram exploded in New York while George Kittle found success with over 500 yards receiving in San Francisco in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
The Rams tight end may not have had that type of production, but his numbers are not as bad as some think when looking at the other rookie tight ends.
Where he ranks
Let’s take into account that Everett was the fourth tight end taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. Theoretically that makes him the fourth best tight end prospect in the class.
Looking at the numbers, Everett finished fifth among rookie tight ends in yards, sixth in receptions, fourth in average yards per reception, and was one of just eight to have multiple touchdowns.
Given where he was drafted, Everett’s production was about right where it should have been. Given the options that the Rams had in the passing game and how much they spread the ball around in McVay’s offense, 16 receptions for 244 yards isn’t as bad as it looks on paper.
What also needs to be taken into account is the developmental period for the typical tight end (excluding the elite level tight ends such as Gronkowski and Engram).
Historically, the typical tight end has produced only four seasons with at least 90 percent of his peak production. This means that their prime years are often short. Tight ends take a long time to develop—the probability of a rookie tight end posting respectable numbers is almost zero—and they usually see a steep decline in their early-30s.
Everett is only 23. Historically speaking, tight ends see a dramatic spike in play in their mid-20’s. The second-year tight end may break out in year two, but it would not be surprising if it took one, if not two more years for him to hit the elite level of production that his athleticism should allow him to hit.
Look at tight ends that Everett was been compared to coming out of college and their first three seasons. Those players are: Antonio Gates (PFF), Delanie Walker (Lance Zierlein), Jordan Reed (Walter Football), Quincy Enuwa (Lance Zierlein). It also makes sense to take a look at other tight ends draft in the first two rounds over the last three seasons.
|Name||Rookie Rec.||Rookie. Yds.||Rookie TDs.||2nd Year Rec.||2nd Year Yds.||2nd Year TDs||3rd Year Rec||3rd Year Yards||3rd Year TDs|
Antonio Gates started his rookie campaign at 23 years of age after coming in as an undrafted free agent. It took him two years two finally explode.
Delanie Walker didn’t have his first 500-yard season until he switched teams. Even then it took some time. Eventually, Walker did what many tight ends don’t do and produced his best years after the age of 30.
Looking at Jordan Reed, he was also 23 at the start of his rookie year. He has yet to have a 1,000 yard season, but his production nearly doubled from his second to third year.
While Everett’s numbers may be lower than the players in his class, that is no reason to panic.
Tight ends simply take longer to develop. Evan Engram is not the rule, but rather the exception. In fact, Engram’s projected production took at 12% increase after the Odell Beckham Jr. injury.
His time is coming
Everett’s time will come. Just because he didn’t have 500 yards and six touchdowns in year one, doesn’t mean he won’t. With Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp filling major roles, there wasn’t much emphasis on the tight ends last season. The situation was different in Washington where the only threat over the middle was Reed.
Sixteen receptions for 244 yards may not be what fans would have hoped to see in Everett’s debut season. However, that doesn’t mean he should be labeled a bust just yet either.