Top 50: 2016 Opponents Include Pro Bowl Tight End On AFC North Champs

Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.

Name: Tyler Eifert
Team:Cincinnati Bengals
Position: Tight End
Height/Weight:6-6/250
Experience:3 seasons
College: Notre Dame

2016 vs. Cowboys:

The Cowboys and Bengals face off Oct. 9 at AT&T Stadium in the fifth game of the 2016 season. It'll mark only 12th meeting between the teams and the first since 2012. The Cowboys lead the all-series, 7-4.

What's the Deal:

Eifert made his first Pro Bowl after a 2015 campaign that included 52 catches for 613 yards and 13 touchdowns, the most by a tight end and tied for second most in the NFL. He injured his left ankle in the Pro Bowl at the end of January and opted for surgery in late May, which could sideline him three months, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Expect This:

The Cowboys-Bengals matchup will take place just past the four-month mark since Eifert's surgery, which would put him in line to return according to his reported recovery timetable. Second-year defensive back Byron Jones covered tight ends throughout his rookie season, and on paper he would seem a logical choice to match up with the physical 6-6 Eifert.

Previous Meetings:

A first-round pick by the Bengals in 2013, Eifert has yet to play against the Cowboys.

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • Athletic tight end. He can close the cushion when going vertical down the seam. Good enough speed to get deep.
  • Adjusts well to the ball. Can make the over shoulder type catch. Battles for the jump ball. Possesses good leaping ability, concentration, and timing.
  • Plucks the ball in his hands. Not a body catcher. Rarely drops a ball unless he takes his eye off of it. Catches the ball in traffic over the middle. Uses his body to shield off defender.
  • Good field awareness. Understands spacing in routes and on sideline. Outstanding when it comes to running the wheel route from the inline position.
  • Routinely makes contested catches. Catches the ball easily. Lines up all over the formation - in the slot, out wide in the flex position, and tight on the end of the line of scrimmage.
  • Good downfield hustle to block in space. Works to bend his knees to leverage his blocks. Not much of a blocker when he has to stay in to help with pass protection. Can get overpowered and knocked off balance.
  • Tends to catch and attempt to steer his man.
  • Will likely see coverage from Byron Jones as a matchup to counter his size and athletic ability when the Cowboys face the Bengals in early October.  

The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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