Bengals surprise by taking Tyler Eifert

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
10:40
PM ET

The biggest first-round surprise in the AFC North came from the Cincinnati Bengals, who selected Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert with the No. 21 overall pick.

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The Bengals had been expected to take a safety (like Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien) or a running back (like Alabama's Eddie Lacy). Instead, they went with the top-rated tight end in the draft.

In a league that is emphasizing tight ends, the Bengals can team Eifert with Jermaine Gresham, a first-round pick three years ago. This provides an excellent red-zone target for quarterback Andy Dalton. Eifert was targeted 15 times in the end zone last season, nine more than any other Fighting Irish player, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Eifert has excellent size at 6-foot-5 and plays like an oversized receiver. The knock is he doesn't have top-end speed but he can catch in traffic.

Scouts Inc. pros: Displays elite focus and body control. Uses long frame, good leaping ability and exceptional body control for size to establish excellent positioning for the in the air. No pass catcher in college football did a better job of winning jump ball opportunities the past two seasons (2011-'12). Shows exceptional competitiveness, concentration and hand strength when attacking the ball in a crowd. Has experience lining up all over the field.

Scouts Inc. cons: Not as effective working against man coverage as he is versus zone. Telegraphs too many of his routes. Has good quickness but can be a bit too choppy in and out of breaks. Has improved as a route runner but still can do a better job. Is not going to create many yards after the catch. Not going to make many defenders miss and there are times when he takes too long to reach top-end speed after the catch.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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