When you watch his film, Eifert looks like a top 10 talent. He is a huge match up problem for defenses. At 6’6, he is too tall for most corners and safeties and too fast for most linebackers. I honestly don’t understand why tight ends can be valued so low since they can be such headaches for defensive coordinators. If you take a look at the NFL, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are dominant pass catchers and often unstoppable. The Patriots have a revolving door at wide receiver, but they continue to stay dominant on the offensive side of the ball. The one variable that doesn’t change: their two athletic tight ends.
The first player that Todd Haley talked about in his introductory press conference was tight end Heath Miller. He didn’t talk about any one else on the offense he was going to be working with, except for Miller. From that moment, I knew how much Todd Haley valued his tight ends. If you still are not convinced, let’s look at the numbers. In Haley’s first season (2012) with the Steelers, Heath Miller caught 8 touchdowns and received the team MVP award. Contrasting that with Heath’s 2011 season numbers under Bruce Arians, Health only had two touchdowns the whole season! Underultilized under Bruce Ariens offensive scheme? Who could argue?! Heath matched his 2011 total of 2 touchdowns in a the first two games of the 2012 season. If Bruce Arians was still the offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh, I would say the odds of Eifert being drafted by the Steelers is slim to none. With Todd Haley, the chances are much better. You might say “we already have Heath and have bigger needs!” If you really look at it, tight end is a bigger need than most fans think. Yes, Heath Miller will be back at some point, but we have no idea if that is week 1 or week 16. Even if he comes back earlier, there is no guarantee Heath is even close to being what he once was. You can’t tell tell me you are confident having Matt Spaeth and David Paulson as your tight ends for a long period of time. Alright, say Heath does come back right away and is back to where he was before, imagine how many headaches it would give opposing defenses covering both Heath Miller AND Tyler Eifert! Most teams can’t account for Heath, much less both of them. If you don’t believe me, ask Rex Ryan.
During his post-draft press conference, Kevin Colbert made a comment about the talent of DeCastro:
We valued him very high. As we said the other day, there were a few special players in this group that we thought would be easy to evaluate and he was one of them.
It’s a safe bet that Tyler Eifert would be one of those “few special players” in this draft as well. Not to say that Tyler Eifert will be drafted 17th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there is a good chance he will still be on the board when the Steelers select 17th overall. In the past, it would be a reach drafting a tight end that high. The Patriots have led the way, and as the NFL continues to evolve, the Steelers should definitely consider following the Patriots lead. As Roger Goodell walks to the podium, prepare yourself for the possibility that Tyler Eifert is the name on that card.
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