Yesterday, we started a new series looking at potential Miami Dolphins 2013 NFL Draft prospects and turning to the SB Nation blog covering each prospect's college team for an insider look. Our first post yesterday was a look at the University of Washington's Desmond Trufant, a potential first round pick for the Dolphins, with input from UW Dawg Pound and kirkd.
Today, we switch sides of the ball for a look at another potential firs round pick, Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. Our insider look at Eifert comes to us via Notre Dame blog One Foot Down manager Eric Murtaugh.
Strengths: Much more athletic than he gets credit for, even after a really great NFL Combine workout. Or should I say, he's definitely faster than most people think. The two biggest things that jump out about Eifert are his reliable hands and large catch radius. He's probably the best player (receiver or tight end) I've seen in my lifetime at Notre Dame at going up and getting the ball while making in-air adjustments on poorly thrown balls. We'll see how he does against better competition but he's definitely the type of player who will win most battles on 50/50 balls thrown in tight spaces. This also points out that he was very reliable making catches in traffic, exposing his body to huge shots from safeties, and being a clutch 1st down machine in crucial moments. Eifert runs good routes, he's sneaky fast (mentioned above) and that allows him to get past the second level, behind defensive backs, and make big catches downfield. He might not be as prolific at this in the NFL but if you're looking for a tight end to run down the seam or maybe a deep flag route, he's the type of guy to do it. I'd close by saying that he's just really clutch. Hard to define but he caught of ton big touchdowns and crucial 3rd down receptions over the past 3 years and he was the primary receiving target on the best Irish team in 15+ years.
Weaknesses: He can still improve on his blocking. If there's something that ultimately keeps him out of the 1st round of the draft it will likely be this, I think. Not that he's poor, and he definitely got much better this past season, but I really wouldn't call it a strength of his considering his size. So in some ways it will depend on what a team is looking for because Eifert's kind of a hybrid guy (he spent probably 35% of the past 2 years split out wide as a receiver) but with some more experience he can probably grow in to a more traditional tight end if the team that draft him wants to go down that road.
As far as off the field issues he was a model citizen at Notre Dame. He overcame a rather serious injury his freshman season, and then exploded on to the scene once Kyle Rudolph went down with injury in 2010. He was a team captain, a bit of a quiet leader, but about as dependable of a star as any in South Bend.