Living about an hour away from Notre Dame, I've been to a few games the past couple years, hear a lot about them, and they're always on television. I'm not a Fighting Irish fan, but I'm a fan of Tyler Eifert. He deserves all the attention he does get.
Eifert won the John Mackey Award this season, which goes to the best tight end in college football. He's a BEAST. To me, he is a sure thing in the NFL, he's going to be good, he's going to produce. Last year a lot of 49ers fans were wanting Coby Fleener to be drafted by the Niners, not drafting him could turn out to pay dividends this draft.
Eifert is more polished than Fleener, a better blocker who also has better hands. This year most of you are wanting to see a defensive lineman, safety, or cornerback selected by the 49ers. But if Eifert is still on the board when the 49ers are up it would be a steal. Vernon Davis and Eifert would make for the most dangerous tight end duo in the league, with the exception of Aaron Hernandez and "Party Boy" Rob Gronkowski.
- Good hands: He doesn't seem to be fond of dropping passes. Definitely a better pass catcher than Delanie already.
- Great measurables: 6'5 252 lbs, he'd add a dimension the 49ers don't have from the tight end right now, height. While height isn't everything, it certainly helps to have someone who can jump up for the ball. Eifert has made some tremendous catches this season jumping high vertically or to his side (even in traffic), pretty impressive stuff.
- Crisp route runner: Eifert makes every move a good move and can make defenders look silly. He isn't a speed demon of a tight end but he knows how to get open.
- Versatile: Can line up out wide, in the slot, or line up with his hand in the ground like a normal tight end. He can really do it all.
- Solid Blocking: Made big improvements this year blocking. He was a big reason for Notre Dame's success running the ball this season.
- Notre Dame Tight End Pedigree: Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Fasano, and John Carlson all were tight ends at Notre Dame and have had success in the NFL.
-Clutch: Many key third downs this season, where Notre Dame's undefeated season was on the line, Eifert came through with a huge catch.
I really don't see many cons to Eifert's game, but there are things he can improve on. His blocking needs to continue to improve. A con to some people would be he doesn't have Vernon Davis speed, but I feel he has good enough speed to beat people down the field. Another thing he can improve on is knowing when to keep running his route. There have been times where Eifert makes a great jumping catch when he didn't have to, he could have kept running and got the ball anyway. I'd equate this to a center fielder diving for a ball when it's unnecessary, you had a highlight play but it should have been routine.
Doing Your Homework:
Why He Might Fit The 49ers:
He will fit the 49ers well if Delanie Walker isn't retained. As we know, Harbaugh loves two tight end sets, and he'd be a big weapon in that set. He is used to being motioned all the time in Brian Kelly's offense. They use a lot of different formations and sets, he could adjust to this playbook easily. Notre Dame also has a zone blocking scheme, which the 49ers use at times. When it comes to power blocking, Eifert can do that too.
Why He Might Not Fit The 49ers:
It all depends on if Walker re-signs. If Delanie is back for next year it wouldn't make sense to draft Eifert in the first round. Nothing that Eifert does on the field says he wouldn't fit the 49ers, it's just a question of the position needing to be filled or not.
What They Are Saying:
- Eifert is the No. 16 prospect overall on SB Nation's top 100 big board.
- Check out of all of his stats at cfbstats.com
If Eifert is still around at pick 31, he's either the best pick available or pretty close to it. If he's there the 49ers are going to be very intrigued to snatch him. I don't know if you can pass a guy like this up if you can draft him. We'll see how things unfold on draft day, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if he's drafted by the 49ers. The Falcons or Bears appear to be the favorites to land him though. The Bears don't have a decent tight end and even if Tony Gonzalez comes back to the Falcons, they need a tight end of the future.