Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The "Three E's" Head the Class at Tight End

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The "Three E's" Head the Class at Tight End

Article excerpt

In this year's draft, the "E" in TE stands for Eifert, Ertz and Escobar.

That would be Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, Stanford's Zach Ertz and San Diego State's Gavin Escobar. Together, they look like the three best tight ends in the draft, with Eifert and Ertz potential first- round picks.

All three are around 6-foot-5 to 6-6; all weigh 250 give or take a couple pounds. And all turned pro early.

In an age in which the best tight ends can catch the ball, run well and move around the formation, the "Three E's" all appear to have what it takes to have successful NFL careers. And if they can hold their own as blockers, even better.

"I'm lucky to be coming in at a time where the type of tight end that I am is being used quite a bit," Eifert said, adding that he is effective "in the passing game, but also a guy that can stay in the game on every down and can also block. Create mismatch problems in the passing game."

It is Eifert's blocking ability, in part, that seems to have gotten him ranked ahead of Ertz and Escobar. Not that Eifert has turned into a road grader, but he's getting there.

"That has been what everyone said I was lacking," Eifert said. "So I've spent a lot of time working on my blocking with coaches, working on the technique things, the little things, the footwork, hand placement.

"I think I'm better. I'm still not where I want to be."

Catching passes, on the other hand, never has been a problem for Eifert, Ertz or Escobar.

Eifert won the Mackey Award as college football's top tight end in 2012, with 50 catches for 685 yards. He actually was more productive in 2011, when he led the nation's tight ends and set Notre Dame tight end records for catches (63) and yards (803).

Eifert played on the line of scrimmage and in the slot and was even flexed out wide. He can catch the ball in traffic and with 4.65 speed can get down the field to create mismatches with linebackers. …

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