Friday, April 26, 2013
Eifert drafted 21st; Te'o made to wait
By Matt Fortuna
Notre Dame did not duplicate last year's feat of getting two players selected in the first round, but Tyler Eifert did give the Irish their highest tight end selection in 20 years.
Eifert went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21, becoming the first Notre Dame tight end to be taken in the first round since Irv Smith went to the New Orleans Saints at No. 20 overall in 1993.
"This is such an exciting time for Tyler and his family," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "He was faced with a difficult decision following his junior season whether or not to return to school. Tyler returned for his senior season and that decision was rewarded today. He proved to be the best tight end in college football, solidified himself as a first-round draft pick and, most importantly, earned his degree from the University of Notre Dame."
Eifert was the first tight end to be drafted in the first round since 2011, when the Bengals took Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham 21st overall. He became the 64th Notre Dame first-round selection of all-time.
The fall of Manti Te'o, meanwhile, was a bit perplexing. The Alabama game, the Lennay Kekua saga and the combine performance obviously hurt the Heisman runner-up's stock, but few expected the Minnesota Vikings to pass up on him three different times late in the first round.
Then again, inside linebackers are not the hottest of commodities in the NFL, leaving the most-honored player in college football history still on the board going into Day 2, making him a virtual steal for anyone that late in the draft.