Draft countdown: Bengals 2013 first round pick
The Cincinnati Bengals used the 21st overall pick in the 2013 draft to select Notre Dame tight end, Tyler Eifert.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert with the 21st overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. While it was not a pick that would address an immediate need for the Bengals as they needed more help at safety and running back at the time, it brought one of the most dynamic tight ends in the league to Cincinnati when healthy. The pick gave the Bengals another great target for quarterback Andy Dalton which would improve the offense and give the team insurance in the long term.
During his three-years playing for the Fighting Irish, Eifert would total 140 catches for 1840 yards and 11 touchdowns. There was no doubt that he was a playmaker that could improve this offense. Cincinnati also likes to bring out two tight end sets which made for a good guy to add to the tight end room but was it right in the first round?
Cincinnati already had a reliable tight end in Jermaine Gresham who they drafted in 2010. Coming off a year when Gresham hauled in 64 catches for 737 yards and 5 touchdowns, it seemed odd that the team would draft another tight end. However, drafting Eifert gave the team a cheaper option at the tight end as Gresham would leave via free agency to the Arizona Cardinals following the 2014 season.
Eifert has struggled to stay healthy and has only played in 49% of games since coming into the league. Not being able to stay healthy for a full season in his five years with Cincinnati has crippled this offense on numerous occasions. His best season was in 2015 when he totaled 52 catches for 615 yards and an extraordinary 13 touchdowns. There’s no doubt that Eifert is the biggest red zone threat and safety blanket over the middle for Dalton, the problem has been his inconsistency to be on the field.
Next: Draft countdown: Bengals 2012 first round pick
The Bengals re-signed Eifert this offseason to a one-year deal that has incentives up to $8 million. Of course, if he can’t stay healthy, the deal protects the Bengals from spending too much on a player that isn’t on the field. Similar to what the team did with the Vontaze Burfict contract last September. Eifert, who played only two games last season, has the potential to make this a top offense again but it all relies on him staying healthy. Pairing him with wide receiver A.J. Green and you have one of the best duos in the game.