Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame #80
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Size/Athleticism: Built like a traditional tight end. Big enough to contribute as a blocker but also possesses just enough athleticism to be an asset as a receiver. Notre Dame utilized his versatility by lining him up all over the field (in the slot, out wide, in the backfield, as an h-back).
Separation Skills: Lacks the speed to stretch the field, but runs crisp routes and knows how to use his size to his advantage. Does a great job using his body to shield the defender when in tight coverage. Can be a real asset in the red zone. His size and leaping ability makes him a dangerous weapon in jump ball situations and he’ll win against most defensive backs. Lacks the athleticism to lose defenders with quick breaks, but is very consistent in his routes and gives quarterbacks a nice target.
Ball Skills: Very reliable hands. Does a great job high-pointing the ball on deep routes. Consistently catches with his hands and quickly secures the ball. Has enough athleticism to adjust to the poorly thrown ball and will make some difficult catches. Impressive body control along the sideline.
Blocking: Strong enough to get the job done, but definitely not a dominant blocker. Does a nice job against defensive linemen; uses leverage well to hold his ground against stronger defensive ends. Struggles at times with more athletic linebackers, especially when they aren’t lined up over top of him and come at him from angles. He needs to work on his footwork as a blocker to get into better position more quickly in these situations. When lined up wide, he needs to do a better job locking up defensive backs. He can overpower them, but lets them off too easy and the more aggressive defensive backs will shake free and occasionally slip past and make a play. Appears hesitant at times. Needs to explode off the line as a run blocker and engage his assignment.
Intangibles: Team captain as a senior.
Durability: Missed majority of 2009 season with a back injury, but has been healthy since.
Comments: Eifert lacks the elite athleticism of many of the tight ends we’re seeing enter the league these days, so he’s more of a throwback. But unlikely many of today’s pass-catching tight ends, he isn’t useless as a blocker. His blocking definitely needs to improve, but he has shown a willingness to develop in this area and could be groomed into a true three-down tight end. The best comparison in today’s game is probably Jason Witten. Like Witten, he’s mostly a possession receiver, but just athleticism enough to pose some matchup problems.