Tight end picture

The Eagles will be scrutinizing the tight-end crop at next weekend's scouting combine in Indianapolis. They have no intention of bringing back L.J. Smith and would like to find a decent blocking tight end in this year's draft to complement Brent Celek. The problem is, beyond top-rated Brandon Pettigrew, of Oklahoma State, there aren't many tight ends who can block.

"It's really tough to find guys who can block and catch," Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. "There's a bunch of guys we like that are really good receiving tight ends. But I'm looking at our [draft] board right now, and there are four [tight ends] that probably will go in the first four rounds that don't even line up on the line of scrimmage at all.

"You look at the kid from Missouri [Chase Coffman], he never, ever lines up on the line of scrimmage. You don't even get to see him block. With all of the spread offenses in college, to find a guy who can do both things is almost impossible. You look at their athletic ability and the receiving ability and you just hope they'll give you something as a blocker. In our offense, we want more of a receiver than a blocker. But by the same token, you've got to be able to block a little bit, or it's just going to be a situation where you're not going to be able to run the ball."

The Eagles have made it clear to Celek that he needs to improve as a blocker.

"I think he blocked a little bit better last year [2007] than he did this year," Heckert said. "But he had some minor injuries. He knows the situation. He knows he has to become a pretty good blocker. And I think he will."