When the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Tyler Eifert in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they knew they would be getting a potential difference maker at the tight end position. Eifert was a standout player during his time at Notre Dame and raised many eyebrows this year during the Bengals training camp.
While Eifert had been mostly impressive in the first nine weeks of his rookie campaign, much of his production had been capped by the presence of veteran tight end, Jermaine Gresham. With Gresham sidelined on Sunday due to a groin injury, Eifert displayed the type of talent which made him a first round pick.
Eifert dominated the targets from quarterback, Andy Dalton, for much of the game as the rookie saw a season-high 10 targets. While Eifert only came down with five of them for a total of 55 yards, Eifert constantly looked like the elite player the Bengals hoped they had drafted. On one particular play, he managed to break free from two defenders for a 40 yard gain.
With his performance on Sunday, it would be easy to peg Eifert as the next Jimmy Graham or Jordon Cameron, but one has to remember that Gresham was sidelined on Sunday. Before Sunday, Eifert’s previous high in targets was seven, and he had not seen more than four targets in a game since Week 5. This is mostly due to the fact that he splits a majority of the snaps at tight end with Gresham.
There is no doubt in many people’s minds that Tyler Eifert may be one of the NFL’s next elite tight ends, but that’s still a year or two away from being the case. As long as Gresham is suiting up for the Bengals, Eifert’s production will continue to be limited on a weekly basis.