How Tyler Eifert nearly wasn't drafted by the Bengals

Joe Robbins

Tyler Eifert almost wasn't available by the time Cincinnati was on the clock.

Just how coveted was Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert by other teams in the NFL?

Prior to selecting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, the Carolina Panthers were heavily considering Eifert, hoping to complement tight ends Greg Olsen and Ben Hartsock, according to the Charlotte Observer back in May. Not only did they pick Lotulelei in the first round, they didn't bother with a tight end during the draft, even going with another defensive tackle in the second round.

Sources told Pat Yasinskas with ESPN's NFC South blog that had the Buccaneers not traded their first-round pick to New York, Eifert was strongly being considered. Yet, like the Panthers, the Buccaneers avoided the position entirely, going with four defensive players, a quarterback, and running back.

Instead, they’re going with Luke Stocker and Tom Crabtree. There are indications that the Bucs think Crabtree can be a productive pass-catcher. But I wouldn’t count on the tight ends being a big part of Tampa Bay’s passing game this season.

And here we're sitting with two star-quality tight ends in Cincinnati. We kind of feel bad for those tight end deficient teams. A little bit. Not really.

The Buccaneers traded their first-round pick (No. 13 overall) to the New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets used their second first-round pick to grab defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Eventually the Bengals used their No. 21 pick on Eifert, signing him to a four-year deal on Monday.

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