This one came after their first-round selection of Eifert, and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke called is a pick that only Super Bowl contenders make:
In Cincinnati, he’ll pair with current starting TE Jermaine Gresham to give the Bengals arguably the best 1-2 punch at that position this side of Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez. That tandem ought to make Andy Dalton’s job easier at QB, while also relieving some pressure off A.J. Green, even if not in the same way that an elite receiver would.
Another factor to consider: Gresham’s contract is up after 2014, and Cincinnati will have to deal with locking up a lot of its young talent around that time. Eifert’s arrival might allow them to let Gresham walk.
Grade: B-plus. This was the type of pick a team that believes it can reach the Super Bowl makes. And the Bengals might be right about that level after back-to-back playoff berths. Eifert does not fill an obvious need for them, but this is a savvy pick and one that makes the team better.
Richard Langford of the Bleacher Report gave the Bengals an “A” and called them one of the biggest winners on draft day:
Not many saw the Bengals going with tight end Tyler Eifert at No. 21. With Jermaine Gresham already in place, tight end did not appear to be a big priority.
However, Eifert was a good value, and he will be a great target for Andy Dalton right off the bat, and that is the key to this selection.
If the Bengals are going to get to the next level with Dalton, they have to give him plenty of weapons, and that’s what they did.
In addition to Eifert, Dalton will be helped out by Giovani Bernard. He will not only boost the run game but also give Dalton another safe and reliable option in the passing game. Bernard is a quality receiver out of the backfield.
What I really like about the Bengals draft was that they didn’t reach for a safety in Round 1. Finding an upgrade over Taylor Mays was a priority, but with the top two safeties already gone, there was not a good value in Round 1 at No. 21.
Shawn Williams was a nice value, and he stands a great shot to earn the starting job.
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