Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
My rule of thumb for the draft is simple: trade down whenever possible and stockpile future picks. When that option is unavailable, I recommend drafting for need over the "best player on the board." And when you are drafting for need, it's imperative for a team to be honest with itself on those needs.
For a team like the St. Louis Rams, the needs are plentiful (in no particular order): running back, cornerback, safety, wide receiver and tight end. Hell, some might want to even add quarterback to that list, but Sam Bradford is still raking in the cash from his JaMarcus Russell-sized contract.
So why go with the tight end when it's a potential reach? Stay with me, because I'm tying several strings together and it'll meet in the middle of the room somewhere.
Steven Jackson left in the off-season to sign with #SHATlanta, meaning the depth chart looks like so: Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, Terranace Ganaway and Chase Reynolds. Not exactly the Four Horsemen. I'd take present day Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Barry Windham over that group.
So it's a foregone conclusion to take a running back, right? WRONG.
I'm loath to draft a running back in the first round due to their short shelf life; especially with a team needing so many pieces elsewhere. And even when the Rams did have a Pro Bowl-caliber back like Jackson, the running back group only put up 1,600+ yards and 4 TDs. Total. That's all season. So the team decides to part ways with Jackson and either ride and die with the young guys they have, or they're willing to get a cheaper veteran.
The Rams also lost wide receiver (and mascot of scrappy white dudes everywhere) Danny Amendola. They got four guys on their roster right now listed as WR, so there is certainly need. But I don't see one of the start-on-day-one guys falling to them in this spot, so I gotta look elsewhere.
Head coach Jeff Fisher made the most of a lackluster secondary this past season, and I believe he can do it again in 2013. With only three cornerbacks on the team at the moment, the Rams will need to shore up that group. But the mustachioed one can duct tape a decent secondary with a couple vets and/or later round draft picks.
This brings me to the tight end position and Tyler Eifert. Rarely do you see or read or hear the phrase "slight of frame" with a guy who's 6'6" and weighs 250 pounds, but that's the scuttlebutt. Man was one of the best tight ends in college football and-alongside Stanford TE Zach Ertz-the only guy worth a damn who could start at the position on day one for almost any franchise.
In his junior and senior years, he combined for 1,488 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Scouting reports say he's got the best hands of any tight end in the draft. He dropped his first pass during the NFL Combine and proceeded to snag every single throw thereafter. He gets good separation from defenders, he's good at jumping and isn't afraid to go over the middle. This is what you want out of a tight end.
Now what are the knocks on the kid? Obviously, his "slight frame" means he's got some struggles blocking. Hey, if he was going to a team that was giving up a lot of sacks, maybe this wouldn't be the right play, but the Rams have done a good job keeping Bradford upright. And it might help Bradford stay upright if he knew he could get the ball off quickly to a large, sure-handed target going over the middle. Coach Fisher will bulk the guy up if need-be and his blocking technique can be improved. Just cause you're in the NFL doesn't mean there's nothing left to learn or improve upon, right?
And you know what? Let's say I'm wrong and Tyler Eifert doesn't pan out as a tight end. Well, you move him to wide receiver. What? Having a collegiate tight end play as a wide out?!? What kind of shenanigans are those???
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this year's community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2013 CSC Community Draft Section.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||
OT Luke Joeckel - Texas A&M
QB Geno Smith - West Virginia
||Dragon Ninja Warrior||48%|
CB Dee Milliner - Alabama
OT Eric Fisher - Central Mich.
DE Dion Jordan - Oregon
DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah - BYU
||Fan since the Aints||54%|
|7||Arizona Cardinals||OT Lane Johnson - Oklahoma
||Joseph Williams Stern||94%|
|8||Buffalo Bills||G Chance Warmack - Alabama
|9||NY Jets||S Kenny Vaccaro - Texas
|10||Tennessee Titans||G Jonathan Cooper - UNC
|11||San Diego Chargers||DT Sharrif Floyd - Florida
|12||Miami Dolphins||DT Star Lotulelei- Utah||Ralph Malbrough||59%|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CB Xavier Rhodes - Florida St.||jeff.l.b||77%|
|14||Carolina Panthers||CB Desmond Trufant - Washington||Stilljreming||28%|
|15||New Orleans Saints||DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo - LSU||Dave Cariello|
|16||St. Louis Rams||OLB Jarvis Jones - Georgia||caomhin|
|17||Pittsburgh Steelers||WR Cordarrelle Patterson - Tennessee||aryanspecial|
|18||Dallas Cowboys||OT D.J. Fluker - Alabama||SAINTMANUMIT|
|19||NY Giants||DT Sheldon Richardson - Missouri||BlackandGold4ever|
|20||Chicago Bears||ILB Manti Te'o - Notre Dame||MobileSaint|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||WR Tavon Austin - West Virginia||Fan since the Aints|
|22||St. Louis Rams (from Washington)||TE Tyler Eifert - Notre Dame||Kevin Held|
|24||Indianapolis Colts||Legatron Morstead|
|25||Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle)||Fan since the Aints|
|26||Green Bay Packers||caomhin|
|29||New England Patriots||ShadowFlash|
|30||Atlanta Falcons||Dave Choate|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||BlackandGold4ever|