Prospect: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Height: 6’5 1/2
Grade: 7.2 (Grading Scale)
Eifert is tall athletic tight end prospect. Physically the most complete tight end in the draft. Has long arms and displays an large catch radius. Displays the movement skills to line up at multiple spots (in-line, slot, H-Back, Split). Fluid route runner can change direction easily. Gets in and out of his routes with little wasted motion. Fast enough to run by linebackers and strong enough to out muscle defenders for ball position. Top end speed is above average for a tight end, takes long strides and eats up cushion quickly. Shows the vertical leap to high point jump balls.
Eifert has added 40 pounds to his frame since arriving at Notre Dame, but still needs to add strength to become a viable blocker. Not real sudden or elusive. Struggles to make defenders miss after the catch.
Route Running Ability
Runs smooth, precise routes. Can split out wide and run a receivers route tree. Sets routes up well with strong releases off the line. Can beat press coverage. Quick feet off the line and out of his breaks. Can create separation using his big body and easy change of direction to win over the middle of the field. Dangerous in the seam. Can stretch the middle of the field vertically, making catches over the second level of the defense. Consistently beats zone coverage, finding the soft spot. When lined up in three point stance he chips to sell run play and gains clean release.
Shows fluid hips on quick breaking routes. Strong enough to battle against physical defenders and still run a good route. Gets his hips/head turned to find the ball and create big target for the QB. Does an effective job of setting up his routes, changes speed and shows little wasted motion. Can create vertical separation with top end speed and long strides. Has enough elusiveness to juke or head fake the defender at the top of his route. Strong enough to break tackles after the catch, but won”t make many miss with openfield elusiveness.
Eifert displays natural and reliable hands when catching the ball. Can extend and catch away from his body. Has the ability to snatch on the run and catch with out breaking stride. Make tough catches in tight spaces. Long arms allow him to extend away from tight coverage to complete the catch. Carves out room with body control and strength to position himself between the ball and the defender. Tracks the ball well and can adjust while running vertically. Extremely large catch radius, can go up to get the ball and shows the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Presents large red zone target.
Occasionally will have a drop, usually happens when he allows the ball to get into his body or when the defender is on top of him.
Still a major work in progress as a blocker. Gives an honest effort and is willing to block, however lacks strength and technique to sustain blocks or get much movement. Doesn’t fire off the line like he does when he’s running routes. Uses his arms too much when blocking. Can get initial movement, but loses leverage and can’t sustain blocks long enough.
Against the run, Eifert gets driven back too easily and fails to get a turn on outside runs. Eifert does have the frame to develop into a solid blocker with coaching. Puts himself in the proper position to make the block and can get some movement when he exaggerates the angle.
Eifert has been a consistent producer. Plays the game the right way and gives solid effort on play to play basis. Has shown the dedication to add 40 pounds to his frame and has come a long way as a blocking tight end. He has the ability to recognize coverages and make plays against either man or zone.
Offers tremendous versatility to an offense, with his ability line up in multiple spots. Shows situational and game awareness. Runs his routes to the proper depth and recognizes where the first down maker is. Eifert is a smart, well spoken individual.
Tyler Eifert is the best tight end in the 2013 NFL Draft. He has the athletic ability and receiving skills to line up at multiple positions. When running routes he displays fluid change of direction and a large catch radius. Will snatch the ball out of the air like a wide receiver, without breaking stride. Adds a vertical element to his game with his top end speed and ability to adjust to the deep ball. Brings a physical edge as a receiver.
Eifert isn’t afraid to battle for the ball and can out jump or out muscle defenders for catchable balls. Smooth operator in tight spaces, looks the ball in and can take a hit. Eifert is at his most dangerous when working the middle of the field. He has the quickness to beat safeties or linebackers and the size to present a mismatch up the seam. His large catching radius will make him a safety valve for any Quarterback.
He has a long way to go as a blocker, but still has the tools to develop into an average blocker with time. With a strong combine, Eifert has verified his athletic ability and cemented his status as the top tight end in the 2013 draft. He should be a first rounder, but won’t slip past pick 40.