Another round of the NFL Top 100 Players show took place Wednesday night, and another Cincinnati Bengals player made an appearance.
That player is Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert, who was ranked 44th overall on the list of the league's best players for the 2016 season.
Eifert joins offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and defensive end Carlos Dunlap as the Bengals who have made the list so far. Former Bengal and current Raiders safety Reggie Nelson also made the list, marking four players from the 2015 team on this list, with a few more editions of the weekly TV show, which releases 10 players on the list per episode, still to come.
This past season, Eifert emerged as one of the NFL's truly elite tight ends while helping spark Cincinnati to a 12-4 record. His 12 touchdown catches led the NFL through Week 12, but a neck stinger and concussion led to him seeing limited action in the last four games as he finished with 13 touchdowns, which was still a team record for TDs by a tight end (previously nine).
"He's a matchup nightmare," said running back Jeremy Hill. "Can't put a safety on him. Can't put a linebacker on him. Definitely can't put a corner on him."
"When you see 85 in that Cincinnati Bengals jersey, you know he's gonna get out and be that highlight reel like he was able to do this year," defensive end Carlos Dunlap added in talking up Eifert on the show.
Eifert also finished with 52 receptions for 615 yards on just 72 targets, good for a 72-percent catch rate. He was named to the 2016 Pro Bowl, where he unfortunately suffered an ankle injury that now has him on the mend this offseason and could continue into the regular season.
"They can go to him anytime they need him, and he's going to make a play for them," said Browns linebacker Paul Kruger of Eifert. "When you've got a guy who can reliable like that in crucial situations in the red zone, whether you know he's a threat or not, he's going to get it done, and that's an impressive thing."
It cannot be overstated how important Eifert is to the Bengals offense, and that's why the team picked up his fifth-year option this offseason to keep him in Cincinnati through the 2017 season, at the very least. Most likely, Cincinnati will make a strong push to get his contract extended within the next year, possibly during the 2017 offseason.
Other Bengals from last season that could still make this list include quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, cornerback Adam Jones, wide receiver A.J. Green and right guard Kevin Zeitler. Dalton, Zeitler and Jones may not make it now that we're getting into the 40s, but looking at some of the names on this list so far, those four Bengals definitely deserve to be ranked as well.
While some Bengals will undoubtedly get snubbed, there's no question Eifert had to be on this for it to have any semblance of respect, and it's good to see Eifert is so highly thought of by his peers around the league.