Bengals Hope Eifert Is Their Gronk
By Jason Henry
During Thursday’s NFL Draft, Cincinnati drafted Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert to give quarterback Andy Dalton another offensive weapon, and to possibly help the Bengals make it to the Super Bowl.
Eifert will be paired with Pro Bowl tight end Jermaine Gresham, one of the Bengals more dangerous receiving weapons who caught a career high 64 balls in 2012.
To briefly analyze the Bengals selection, they chose to go with the best player available instead of reaching to draft a prospect to help them fill a positional hole like safety or running back.
Amongst the Bengals brass, there had to be discussion about last year’s early playoff exit. The team lost by six points to the Houston Texans in the wildcard round, so which player would help them overcome that hurdle?
Eifert is a good interior blocker but his real talent is out jumping defenders. Using him in the red zone to try and leap over Ed Reed or Johnathan Joseph for a touchdown could become a defining moment for the Bengals.
In their playoff game against the Texans last season, Dalton only threw for 127 yards, and the Bengals have to think that adding a pass-catching weapon like Eifert will help them if they were to face the Texans in the playoffs again this year.
Another reason for picking Eifert is to develop him just in case Gresham decides to leave when his contract runs out in 2014. I’m sure some are envisioning the duo of Gresham and Eifert as that of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots. Both are Pro Bowl tight ends who give opposing defenses nightmares.
Gresham and Eifert are younger, and the Bengals have one of the best young wide receivers in the league in A.J. Green. The potential for a deep run into the playoffs is there if Eifert gives the Bengals half of the production he churned out at Notre Dame.
Cincinnati will need the offensive help as they face the Bears, Steelers, Packers and Patriots all within the first six weeks of the season.
If their offensive output through the air is better than middle of the road in 2013, they ranked 17th in the league last season, the Bengals may very well turn into one of the most dangerous passing teams in the league.
It’s just to bad that playoff games and Super Bowls aren’t won on draft day. If they were, the Falcons and Browns would have hoisted a Lombardi trophy by now.