With some wise draft choices in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals seems as though they are finally ready to end their two-decade long drought and get that playoff win that they have just fallen shy of over the last two seasons.
Third-year quarterback and wide receiver duo Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have made a more than decent attempt at carrying the Bengals’ offense, but there’s only so much that two people can do.
This is where rookie Tyler Eifert comes in. With the addition of the Notre Dame tight end, the Bengals now have the potential to make Dalton one of the best passing quarterbacks next season. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has already said that he intends on putting some form of two tight end system in place and with Green and the emergence of Mohamed Sanu before his injury, it looks like Dalton will have no one to blame but himself if he can’t put up over 4,000 yards in 2013.
Eifert, the John Mackey Award winner as college football’s best tight end in 2012, had a pretty impressive college campaign. With a three-year total of 1840 yards and 11 touchdowns, Eifert showed that despite having a quarterback that was less than amazing, he was still able to rack up decent stats.
What was more impressive still was his reliability on third-down plays. In his last two seasons in South Bend, Eifert caught 36 third down passes, clearing the first down marker on 31 of those. It shows his capability to produce in clutch situations, and this will be vital for his fantasy status in 2013 as the Bengals will be looking for him regularly when they are looking to make the first down.
This will be the first year of the implementation of the Bengals’ new offensive system and there will be some kinks to straighten out, but this does not diminish the up-side of Eifert.
As we have seen over the past few seasons, such as the 2012 New England Patriots duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and the duo Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker in San Francisco, the system creates a more open field for everyone, and with the expectations of Eifert to be higher on the depth chart than Gresham before too long, 2013 could be a productive season for him.
Projection: 50 catches, 615 yards, five touchdowns
Tight ends aren’t generally worth a pick up before the sixth round in your fantasy league, and I would say that going with Eifert any earlier in his first season could end up blowing up in your face. A round seven pickup for the tight end would likely be a steal, however, as people are expecting big things from him next year.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. be sure to follow simon on Twitter @simongreene88