Dave Lapham predicted the Tyler Eifert selection by the Bengals in a mock draft of his a few weeks ago. When the Bengals actually selected Eifert, to the surprise of many fans, Lapham got his guy. While tight end isn't necessarily high on their list of needs, it's clear the Bengals decided to go with the best available player. Lapham believes that Eifert has made the Bengals better on offense already.
"The more, the merrier. I think it helps (Jermaine) Gresham. I think it helps (A.J.) Green. I think it helps everybody," Lapham said after making the call on radio. "The versatility of Gresham, the versatility of Eifert (and Eifert has shown more versatility than Gresham), it's going to dictate coverages and defenses. If you split out both tight ends and put A.J. in the slot and put him in motion, it's hard to double him. It's another way to get favorable matchups for A.J. Green.
"I saw (Eifert) line up in a ton of different spots and he always seemed to make the contested catch," Lapham said. "You see what the Patriots have done with two tight ends. You see what the Ravens have done with two tight ends. It's working. It fits a guy like Andy Dalton, a rhythm passer and the tight end is a quarterback's best friend because the targets are big and the coverages are usually simple."
The best example of what two tight ends can do is what the Patriots do with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Even when Wes Welker was their lone wide receiver, and without a single receiver even close to A.J. Green, the Patriots have consistently shredded defenses with the duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez. They finished with the top offense in the league in 2012 and they win consistently because they outscore everyone. Of course, that has a lot to do with Tom Brady as well, but a quarterback needs someone to throw to in order to be productive.
Dalton isn't Brady, but with the combination of Eifert, Gresham, Green, Andrew Hawkins, Mohamed Sanu and the other receivers, he has one of the best core of pass catchers in the division and possibly in the conference as well.
"No question they got better on offense," Lapham said.
Not only are Gresham and Eifert mismatch nightmares, but big tight ends are a quarterback's best friend. When a quarterback is in trouble, it's easier to find a big target downfield to get rid of the ball and with two of them on the field, Dalton should be able to find one of them and avoid a lot of sacks he took over the last couple years.
With the Bengals' success, it figures that they could afford at least one pick early in which they could just select the best player available at the time. They've done that and now it wouldn't be surprising to see them draft more for need in the second and third rounds on Friday.