For the past four years, tight end Jermichael Finley has been an at-times integral part of the Green Bay Packers' passing attack. As he enters the final year of his contract and looks for a big pay day next off-season, however, it's possible that the Packers will begin grooming his replacement in Mike McCarthy's offense - and find that replacement in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
|26. Green Bay Packers||Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame||TE||6'6"||251||JR|
Tex Western: "With Johnathan Hankins off the board, we are solid on Eifert, who is easily the best tight end in this year's draft class. Ted Thompson preaches taking the best player available without reaching for a particular position. Though we think the Packers need some substantial help at running back and on the defensive line, drafting Eifert seems to fit with both the Packers’ strategy and a long-term need.
"For the immediate future, Eifert's presence would give the Packers a dual tight end package that would be among the better combinations in the league. Teams consistently ran Cover 2 defenses against the Packers in 2012 to take away the big passing plays, and what better way to break those schemes than with two big targets who can make plays down the seams? In the run game, he's almost certainly already a better blocker than Finley, which could mean he'd be used in-line to let Finley split out wide more often as a receiver.
"Looking beyond the 2013 season, the tight end position is a bit of a question mark as Finley is currently in a contract year. If he manages to perform like an All-Pro, he'll price himself out of Green Bay; if he doesn't, I expect he won't be brought back even at a lower salary. That would leave a big hole in the passing game, with a handful of as-yet unproven players to fill it. Eifert would bring another talented receiving weapon to the Packers' passing game and giving him a season to develop before making him the go-to tight end in the offense would certainly be beneficial.
"All in all, selecting Eifert makes sense to us from all sides. An attempt to trade down is certainly not out of the question, but without any highly ranked defensive linemen dropping to 26 we think Eifert provides very good value at a position that could use help both immediately and into the future."
Here's our own Dan Kadar to break down the pick:
If the Packers really wanted to take a defensive lineman with this pick, the only one that makes sense is Jesse Williams of Alabama. It’s true, he was on the nose for the entirety of the 2012 season at Alabama. But the season before he played well as a defensive end. He may be 323 pounds, but he’s not immobile. Don’t forget that Alabama used him at fullback last season. But if they don’t like Williams, or some other defensive lineman, Eifert is a smart choice. He will be among the best players available at this spot and can help in the run and pass game. Eifert is athletic enough to go up and get tough passes, but savvy enough to stay on the line and block.
|20||D.J. Fluker *||OT||Alabama||6'5"||339|
|21||DeAndre Hopkins *||WR||Clemson||6'1"||214|
|22||Damontre Moore||OLB||Texas A&M||6'5"||250|
|23||Cornelius Carradine||DE||Florida State||6'4"||276|
|24||Keenan Allen *||WR||California||6'2"||206|
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||Luke Joeckel||OT||Texas A&M|
|2||Jacksonville Jaguars||Geno Smith||QB||West Virginia|
|3||Oakland Raiders||Sharrif Floyd||DT||Florida|
|4||Philadelphia Eagles||Eric Fisher||OT||Central Michigan|
|5||Detroit Lions||Ezekiel Ansah||DE||BYU|
|6||Cleveland Browns||Dion Jordan||OLB||Oregon|
|7||Arizona Cardinals||Barkevious Mingo||OLB||LSU|
|8||Buffalo Bills||Jarvis Jones||OLB||Georgia|
|9||New York Jets||Chance Warmack||OG||Alabama|
|10||Tennessee Titans||Dee Milliner||CB||Alabama|
|11||San Diego Chargers||Star Lotulelei||DT||Utah|
|12||Miami Dolphins||Desmond Trufant||CB||Washington|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Xavier Rhodes||CB||Florida State|
|14||Carolina Panthers||Lane Johnson||OT||Oklahoma|
|15||New Orleans Saints||Alec Ogletree||LB||Georgia|
|16||St. Louis Rams||Tavon Austin||WR||West Virginia|
|17||Pittsburgh Steelers||Cordarrelle Patterson||WR||Tennessee|
|18||Dallas Cowboys||Jonathan Cooper||OG||North Carolina|
|19||New York Giants||Sheldon Richardson||DT||Missouri|
|20||Chicago Bears||Arthur Brown||LB||Kansas State|
|21||Cincinnati Bengals||Kenny Vaccaro||S||Texas|
|22||St. Louis Rams||Jonathan Cyprien||S||Florida International|
|23||Minnesota Vikings||Bjoern Werner||DE||Florida State|
|24||Indianapolis Colts||Datone Jones||DE||UCLA|
|25||Minnesota Vikings||Johnathan Hankins||DT||Ohio State|
|26||Green Bay Packers||Tyler Eifert||TE||Notre Dame|