Tyler Eifert started off slowly this season, but the senior tight end got more looks as the season went on and took advantage. His last collegiate game will be in the BCS National Championship, where his talents will be on full display before the NFL pre-draft process begins.
School: Notre Dame
Position: Tight End
Height/Weight: 6'6"/251 lbs
NFL Comparison: Heath Miller/Kyle Rudolph
Eifert played at Bishop Dwenger High School in Indiana. He was a standout tight end and defensive back, but was only rated as a three-star recruit.
Eifert has maybe the best hands of any receiver or tight end that I've scouted so far. He had no glaring drops where he lost focus and made a number of spectacular grabs.
He is great at adjusting to balls while they are in the air and is comfortable jumping and reaching over his head to make a catch. There were a number of plays where Eifert got downfield and went up in the air to make catches that very few NFL receivers would be able to make now.
He can also make tough grabs over the middle, out-muscling the defender and letting the ball get into his body while sticking with his route. He focuses more on the catch and doesn't worry about turning upfield, which limits his drops but also doesn't lead to much yardage after the catch.
Coming into this season, a lack of blocking capability was the biggest knock on Eifert. But in the tape that I watched from games this season, I was pleasantly surprised by Eifert's blocking. His blocking on tape was especially impressive against Stanford and Purdue this season.
He isn't used much for pass-blocking, but he was serviceable when asked to help out on the outside. As a run blocker, Eifert actually looked quite solid. He got good leverage and really went out of his way to put the defender on his back.
He was particularly effective when rolling out toward the sideline and getting to attack defenders in the open field. His aggression and technique should be more than good enough for the NFL, where he'll get even better with coaching and practice.
Eifert is a very solid route runner for a tight end. He's most effective and comfortable barreling down the middle of the field, where his size and speed make him a mismatch.
While he isn't really a sudden athlete, Eifert is fluid in his movements and has effective footwork on cuts and breaks. His acceleration isn't great, but with his size, it doesn't need to be.
His coordination is spectacular, and he is smooth with his hips, allowing himself to turn and be in position to make a play on poorly thrown balls. He could get a little lower and explode out of his cuts, but it's not a glaring issue.
Eifert is versatile in that he can line up on the end or out as a receiver. And as a receiver, he can line up either in the slot or out wide.
On the goal line against Wake Forest, Notre Dame lined Eifert up in isolation on the outside twice in a row and just lobbed the ball up for him, the second of which he came down with for a touchdown. Eifert is comfortable being used in any spot, which gives him extra value.
Eifert works hard on the field. He runs downfield to make blocks and throws himself into defenders in order to continue the play, and he seems to be really competitive. As stated before, he operates well over the middle and is willing to take a hit while coming across the center of the field.
He has no red flags in terms of off-the-field or character issues. His only significant injury was a back problem that forced him to miss almost his entire freshman season. Eifert also has an NFL-ready body, as he is tall and long but built well.
Tight end is a hard position to predict, but I think that a team will snag Eifert at the end of the first or beginning of the second round and will be very happy that it did.
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