Comparing Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz

Even though Tony Gonzalez decided to come back for one more season, there’s been a lot of talk about how the Atlanta Falcons could use their first-round draft pick (No. 30 overall) to select a tight end.

Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz are considered the two top tight ends in this draft and they could be available when it’s Atlanta’s turn to pick. So let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information for a by-the-numbers look at Eifert and Ertz.

Both have shown the ability to get open downfield. Since the start of the 2011 season, Ertz had 24 receptions on throws of more than 15 yards while Eifert had 21. Ertz averaged 26.1 yards per reception on those throws and Eifert averaged 27.2 yards.

On those numbers alone, Ertz and Eifert sound pretty much the same. But let’s take it one step further and disregard passes that were off target. When you do that, Eifert comes out as a clearly better downfield threat.

On throws that were on target of more than 15 yards since the start of the 2011 season, Eifert had an 84 percent catch percentage while Ertz came in at 72.7. Eifert didn’t drop any of the 25 such throws he was targeted on while Ertz had four drops. Eifert averaged 22.9 yards per attempt on those throws while Ertz averaged 19 yards.