Many people expect Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert to have an exceptional NFL career, and if the history of the TEs who’ve been drafted in the first-round is any indicator of how well Eifert will perform, then Bengals fans should be pleased with the career he’s about to have in Cincinnati.
First off, I went through and analyzed every TE to be drafted in the first-round since 2000. I then ranked them basked on their level of impact they made in the NFL, and here’s my ranking of the top-15 first-round TEs of the past decade:
1. Vernon Davis, 49ers (No. 6, 2006)
2. Dallas Clark, Colts (No. 24, 2003)
3. Todd Heap, Ravens (No. 31, 2001)
4. Heath Miller, Steelers (No. 30, 2005)
5. Jeremy Shockey, Giants (No. 14, 2002)
6. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (No. 20, 2009)
7. Dustin Keller, Jets (No. 30, 2008)
8. Kellen Winslow, Browns (No. 6. 2004)
9. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (No. 21, 2010)
10. Greg Olsen, Bears (No. 31, 2007)
11. Daniel Graham, Patriots (No. 21, 2002)
12. Ben Watson, Patriots (No. 32, 2004)
13. Bubba Franks, Packers (No. 14, 2000)
14. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (No. 28, 2006)
15. Jerramy Stevens, (No. 28, 2002)
*In 2011 and 2012, there were no first-round picks used on a TE.
If you go through and look at the careers of each TE, the first five players were all Pro Bowl caliber with Davis being an All-Pro caliber this past season. The next five are borderline Pro Bowlers, and can be a featured TE on an elite offense. The next five guys were moderate-highly productive players at one point in their careers.
In other words, given the recent history of first-round TEs, Eifert has a bright future ahead of him.