Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert drafted by Bengals; Manti Te’o waits
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com
Linebacker Manti Te'o runs the 40 yard sprint during Notre Dame Pro Day Tuesday March 26, 2013 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
It was a long, unfulfilling night for Manti Te’o.
Projected to be a mid-to-late-round pick in the NFL draft Friday night, the Notre Dame All-America linebacker could only sit at home and wait for his name to be called. Passed over by the Bears at No. 20 and the Vikings three times, Te’o somewhat surprisingly was not drafted in the first round.
The Bears took Oregon guard Kyle Long. The Vikings, who were expected to take Te’o with one of their two first-round picks, ltook Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 23 and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes at No. 25.
The Vikings traded up for the New England Patriots’ 29th overall pick in the first round. But after going with defensive players with their first two picks, the Vikings took Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
When the Ravens took Florida safety Matt Elam to conclude the first round, Te’o was left to wait until Friday’s second round to realize his dream of playing in the NFL.
The Bears also passed on Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. But Eifert was spared Te’o’s frustration. The 6-6, 250-pound Eifert was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the next pick, 21st overall. He was the first tight end taken.
‘‘I was told all along that there is no way to tell where you’re going to go or who you’re going to go to,’’ Eifert said, ‘‘so I was just staying positive throughout the whole thing and trying to enjoy it. I’m happy to be a part of the organization and for the opportunity.’’
It was considered a surprising pick by the Bengals, who drafted starting tight end Jermaine Gresham with the 21st pick in 2010. Gresham had 64 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.
Eifert admitted to being a little surprised to go to a team with an established tight end.
‘‘Yeah, a little bit,’’ he said. ‘‘We all do our own mock drafts in our head — who needs the position that we are and what not — so I was a little surprised. Their coach [Jonathan] Hayes worked me out [at] the combine and pro day and we’ve had a good relationship.’’