After sitting out the 2009 season, he saw limited action as a redshirt freshman in 2010, finishing with 16 catches for 190 yards (11.9) and five touchdowns. Ertz saw more playing time as a sophomore in 2011, but was stuck behind Coby Fleener on the tight end depth chart, recording 27 catches for 346 yards (12.8) and four scores.
With Fleener off to the NFL, Ertz became the featured tight end in 2012 as a junior (14 starts), finishing with a team-high 69 catches for 898 yards (13.0) and six touchdowns, earning First Team All-Pac 12 and All-American honors. Ertz decided to skip his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Ertz was part of a crowded depth chart over his first few seasons at Stanford, but emerged as the team's No. 1 offensive weapon in 2012 and led the nation in receiving yards by a tight end. He has developed as a blocker and is usually sure-handed, but still needs to improve his consistency in both areas. Ertz has very good body control and toughness for the position and plays like a wideout in the body of a tight end.
While he'll fight with Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert to be the top tight end drafted, it wouldn't be surprising if some teams grade him as a better tight end prospect than Fleener a year ago. Projecting as a top 40 prospect, Ertz has a good chance to be the first tight end in Stanford history to be drafted in the first round.
Tracks the ball well and does a nice job adjusting his frame to make the tough catch, extending and plucking. Looks like he has glue on his hands with some of the catches he is able to make. Does a nice job selling his patterns, getting good depth in his routes and immediately looking for the ball out of his breaks. Can deceive defenders and find soft spots in coverage. Does a nice job making something happen after the catch, averaging more than 13 yards per catch in 2012.
Has experience all over the offense for Stanford, lining up in-line, in the slot and out wide, but looked most comfortable in the slot. In 2012, Ertz doubled Coby Fleener's production from the year before, earning All-American honors as a Mackey Award finalist. Hard worker on and off the field and plans to graduate in June.
Weaknesses: Has done a nice job adding bulk to his frame, but needs to continue to develop his strength to sustain blocks at the line of scrimmage. Will round off some routes at times and needs to better control himself in/out of his breaks. Needs to do a better job coming down with contested throws and will drop some easy ones - seems to have at least one drop each game.
Will play timid over the middle at times, appearing to hear footsteps. Has only one season under his belt as the full-time starter and has been banged up over his career.
Compares To: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys - Like Witten, Ertz is a strong, tough receiver who isn't an elite athlete but gets the job done, finding ways to get open and create separation. Neither will impress with a 40-yard dash, but show good route quickness and aggressive hands.