2013 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Predicting Picks 22-32

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Nov. 17, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eifert (80) catches a pass as Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Mike Olson (41) defends in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Eifert set a record for most catches by a Notre Dame tight end on the play. Notre Dame won 38-0. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

30. Atlanta Falcons-Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Tyler Eifert has seen his stock rise recently, but he could definitely fall to the end of the first round.

Statistically speaking, Zach Ertz had a better 2012 season than Eifert. Eifert caught 50 passes for 685 yards and four touchdowns, and he never caught more than six passes in a game. He is 6’5 and weighs 250 pounds, so his build is very similar to Ertz’s. However, Eifert is very physical, and he is willing to go up for a ball and make a play. Eifert, who won the John Mackey Award (the award given to the nation’s best tight end), has great hands and can fill a huge hole in Atlanta.

Atlanta doesn’t need to improve in many areas, so they are free to go for a playmaker here. Tony Gonzalez isn’t retiring yet, but it’s safe to assume that he’s going to play only one more year. Using Eifert and Gonzalez in a two tight end set for one year wouldn’t hurt, as the Patriots have had lots of success with it. Once Gonzalez retires, the Falcons will need a replacement at a position that is becoming more and more important.

Eifert can be that replacement.

Gonzalez provides a security blanket for Matt Ryan, and he’s a great guy to throw to on third down. Ryan and Eifert could develop this kind of chemistry, and it would be like Gonzalez never left. 2013 could be a bit rocky at first, but Ryan will have Gonzalez while he works out the kinks with Eifert. It would be a perfect fit, and it would allow the Falcons to keep an element of their offense that helps make them so successful.