It’s no secret the Chicago Bears desperately need a reliable, sure-handed tight end to take some heat off of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Well, look no further than Notre Dame All-American Tyler Eifert.
The 6-foot-6 Fort Wayne, Ind., native is the prototypical NFL tight end who will excel at the next level and should be in the center of the Bears’ crosshairs.
Most NFL Draft experts believe Eifert will be the first tight end taken on April 25. If it’s not Eifert, it will be Stanford’s Zach Ertz. A team won’t go wrong with either.
The chances of both of those top-shelf tight ends being available when Chicago picks with the 20th selection of the first round is very high.
Going into the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend, the Bears may favor Ertz slightly over Eifert.
The scary thing is Ertz and Eifert are nearly clones when you look at them physically. Both are 6-6 and Ertz is listed one pound heavier than Eifert’s 251-pound frame.
Like Ertz, Eifert had a stellar collegiate career.
He became Notre Dame’s all-time leader in receptions by a tight end with 134 and set a single-season receiving yards record by a tight end with 1,779 yards in 2012. Eifert finished with 11 career touchdowns.
This past season Eifert, the Mackey Award winner – presented to the nation’s top collegiate tight end – hauled in 44 passes for 624 yards and four TDs.
Ertz had a productive final season for the Cardinal, too. He grabbed 66 passes for 837 yards with six scores.
Imagine Cutler having a target like Eifert running down the seam. So many times last season the Bears’ QB would throw catchable balls to Kellen Davis that would’ve gone for big yardage only to see them dropped as Davis’ hands were awful.
Davis caught just 19 passes for 229 yards with two touchdowns. That’s sad production from your No. 1 tight end. Think what Eifert’s numbers would look like for the Bears even as a rookie?
In December, Eifert told me he would love nothing better than to call the Windy City home.
When I asked him about being coveted by so many NFL teams, he smiled and said, “I hope they do, that’s better for me.”
At the time, Eifert admitted to being a student of the NFL game, studying professional tight ends.
“I watch the tight ends to see how they’re doing, how they do things like how they block,” he said.
His cerebral approach, not to mention his off-field abilities, is going to make one NFL team very happy.
Eifert could’ve returned to Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish program as he had another year of eligibility remaining, but having already graduated and proven to NFL scouts that he’s more than ready for the next level, it was time to move on.
Wise move Mr. Eifert. Now it’s time to flourish on Sundays.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.