Friday, February 22, 2013
Irish's Eifert could fit Bears needs at TE
By Jeff Dickerson
INDIANAPOLIS -- Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert is exactly the type of player the Chicago Bears are missing on offense.
Checking in at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Eifert’s greatest strength is his ability to use his size and speed from the tight end position to create mismatches downfield in the passing game. With 140 catches for 1,840 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons for the Fighting Irish, Eifert might be the closest thing to Jimmy Graham or Aaron Hernandez in the 2013 NFL draft.
Eifert is projected to be selected No. 30 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft.
“I strive to be a complete tight end, I don't think I'm there yet,” Eifert said Friday at the NFL Combine. “But guys like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Rudolph, those guys
I like to watch and see myself being a similar player to them.
“I'm lucky to be coming in at a time where the type of tight end that I am is being used quite a bit. In the passing game but also a guy that can stay in the game on every down throughout the game and can also block. Create mismatch problems in the passing game.”
But Eifert realizes his in-line blocking must improve to be considered a true all-around tight end.
“That has been what everyone said I was lacking,” Eifert said. “So I've spent a lot of time working on my blocking with coaches, working on the technique things, the little things, the footwork, hand placement. Just the little things which make a big difference. I think I'm better, I'm still not where I want to be. There is still a lot of room to improve. I've made a conscious effort to improve and I think I have.”
The Bears, who hold the No. 20 overall selection, are in obvious need of an upgrade at tight end, but general manager Phil Emery said on Thursday the club is searching for tight ends who can line up in a variety of spots on the field, including in the backfield as a blocker. Eifert doesn’t really fit that description.
Nevertheless, the Bears could target a tight end such as: Eifert, Stanford’s Zach Ertz, San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar, Florida’s Jordan Reed or Cincinnati’s Travis Kelce in the April draft. Or perhaps the Bears try and find a suitable upgrade to Kellen Davis in free agency, where many talented veterans are expected to be available, including San Francisco’s Delanie Walker, who seems to fit the role of what the Bears are searching for at the position.