When the Bengals drafted Tyler Eifert last year out of Notre Dame, he was expected to be part of a dual threat tight end set. Now, he may become the primary target in his second year for QB Andy Dalton.
The Bengals have two very good tight ends, but with Eifert, who in only his rookie season, he showed sure hands and exposed the middle of the field better than most seasoned players. He was as good as Jermaine Gresham, who is entering his 5th year, if not better.
Eifert had 39 receptions for 445 yards, which is only 7 catches and 13 yards behind Gresham, and averaged 1.4 yards per reception more that his position mate at 11.4 yards per catch. There was also a reduction in Gresham’s production in 2013, with only 458 yards compared to 2012, where he went for 737 yards and numerous dropped passes and turnover. He also had a career high three fumbles last year.
Eifert is by no means perfect but will deserve a closer look as the off-season progresses. He was a large part of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s offensive success as he tied for the team lead in receptions and touchdowns and led the team in reception yards in his senior year.
We have seen many college greats go on to fizzle out in the NFL, but Eifert portrays something different. He is intelligent and has made smart choices in just his rookie season. He had no fumbles and made some spectacular plays.
Eifert has earned the respect of the fans and from his team mates as a true offensive threat in both short yardage situations and as a deep threat. Look for him to make more contributions in his second year.
*Statistics pulled from Bengals.com