– Rated as one of the top tight ends in this year’s draft, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert might be the most complete in a group that usually seems to specialize in either blocking or pass catching but not both. He’s by no means perfect in either category but he’s probably got the best combination of the two among the prospects this year.
– On Saturday morning, Eifert will work out with the rest of the tight ends with a chance to nudge ahead and establish himself as the top TE in this year’s class. Here’s what he had to say on a variety of topics on Friday.
How has your blocking improved?
That has been what everyone said I was lacking. So I’ve spent a lot of time working on my blocking with coaches, working on the technique things, the little things, the footwork, hand placement. Just the little things which makes a big difference.
How much improvement did you make?
I think I’m better, I’m still not where I want to be. There is still a lot of room to improve. I’ve made a conscious effort to improve and I think I have.
Where do you need to improve?
Inline blocking with my hand on the ground
My ability to catch the ball in traffic, make contested catches, get down the field and create mismatches, understand an offense, being able to be moved around in different positions.
What teams have you met with so far?
I’ve formally and informally pretty much all of them. Formal interviews have been with the Eagles, Bengals, the Texans and a couple other ones. Inaudible… I’m lucky to be coming in at a time where the type of tight end that I am is being used quite a bit. In the passing game but also a guy that can stay in the game on every down throughout the game and can also block.
Create mismatch problems in the passing game. Which “type” of tight end do you identify with?
I strive to be a complete tight end, I don’t think I’m there yet. But guys like Jimmy Graham, Gronkowski, Rudolph, those guys I like to watch and see myself being similar players to them.
Notre Dame’s tight end tradition, do you get something from that?
I communicate with Rudolph a lot. And then Carlson and Fasano, I’ve talked to all three of those guys before. They offer football advice, but also just about life in the NFL, what it’s like, how to adjust to it and things like that.
Just to enjoy it. It’s going to be long. It’s not only going to wear on your body, but your mind. Just enjoy it while you’re here. You’re never going to get this back.
What did they tell you about making the jump to the NFL?
Just the locker room is a little different. Locker room isn’t full of college kids. Some guys get done and they go home to kids and a wife. You might be going home to an apartment all alone. Just be ready for that, you’ll be all alone in the real world.
How did the coaching change from Charlie Weis to Brian Kelly impact your career at Notre Dame?
Both coaches used the tight end quite a bit. I would have had a chance to be successful in the Weis system. With Kelly, he got the ball to the tight ends quite a bit and I benefited from that. As well as trusting me to move me around in the offense, not just tight end but lining up fullback and moving around and things like that.
How do you need to improve with your blocking?
The technique, understanding how to get the job done but you also have to be physically strong enough to do it. I’ve worked on my strength this past season a lot. Have the bench today, hopefully I’ll do well on that.
As NFL teams scout the TE, do you ever take the time to look at the NFL teams, is there a certain offense, certain quarterback that you particular would be a better fit for?
I never really look at it like that. Obviously you see the Patriots with the two tight ends and how they utilize that. An offense like that would be beneficial to me personally. But right now I’m just trying to do my best at the combine. Set a good impression on everyone. Let the pieces fall where they do.
Can it make a difference on a tight ends career? The team he goes to?
It definitely doesn’t hurt, it can help but at the end of the day, you can control how much work you put in and how you handle yourself on a day to day basis.
Best TE in this draft?
I strive to be the best, that’s my goal to be the best. Personally be the best that I can be. I’m a competitor.
– From a Rams perspective, tight end isn’t necessarily the biggest need in terms of position but play makers in the passing game certainly is. If Eifert can prove his ability to be an inline blocker, he would make an excellent complement to Lance Kendricks and could be in play for the Rams late in the first round or potentially if he were to slide to the second round for some reason.
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