Since I've noticed a few disagreements here about whether Ertz or Eifert is the best TE in the class, I thought I'd post a breakdown. It seems like the Dolphins have needed a tight end forever and given that big, receiving TEs are en vogue now, it's probably good to look at the top 2 in this class. I have a bit more on my site, just the summary and a few extra charts that you can see here:

Where Did They Catch the Ball?

This is only where they caught the ball, excluding YAC. Last year I worked up some of Coby Fleenerís stats, so Iíll be comparing them.

  • Despite Ertz and Fleener playing in the same offense, we actually see different distributions of completions. Ertzís are weighted more heavily towards shorter passes, with 68% of his passes coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He did have a higher 12% come on deep balls. This is a solid thing if we see enough yards after the catch from him.
  • Eifertís distribution resembles Fleenerís much more closely. They both have a large amount of receptions within the 1-5 yard range then a large amount of receptions within the 11-20 range. I believe this shows an aptitude for catch both dump off passes and big gaining intermediate receptions. Of course, again this depends on the TE's YAC ability. Unfortunately, I don't have that data on Fleener.
  • Neither is the deep threat that Fleener was. Almost 17% of Fleenerís receptions were past 20 yards. Eifert had nearly half of that and Ertz only reached 12%. I'll be curious to see their 40 times at the combine/ pro-days to see how it compares to Fleener and if we see a reason for this.

Where Did Their Yardage Come From?

(For this I charted yards after contact, which means as soon as a defender contacted the TEs, I noted it)

  • Eifert in general caught the ball slightly further down the field, 10.4 yards to 9.64 yards for Ertz. However, there's not a huge different there and that's not something we can really cite as a huge win or loss for either player.
  • Both Ertz and Eifert had similar total yards after the catch (before contact + after first contact) at 3.94 yards and 3.6 respectively. They came in different manners though. The majority of Ertzí yards after the catch came before contact, with only 1.24 yards after first contact on average. Eifertís was much more divided with 1.96 yards coming after contact.
  • Now this doesnít seem like a big difference, but I believe this is a larger indicator for projection into the NFL. We see Eifert with more effort and strength after the catch compared to Ertz. The players wonít get smaller in the NFL, so the stronger the better.

How Do They Compare in Other Aspects?

  • We have to examine drops. This is probably the most glaring difference. Ertz had almost double the drops of Eifert at a drop rate of 10.68% to only 5.26% for Eifert. That drop rate would give him the second best hands out of this wide receiver class behind only Keenan Allen. This is pretty impressive for a TE, especially if you're looking for someone to make tough catches in the red zone.

  • Both of their catches came from very similar pre-snap alignments. Neither one has more experience or an advantage in a particular alignment. Anyone who tells you one has more experience from the outside or slot is misinformed.

  • Both of them converted a similar amount of third downs. From my sample, 64% of both of their passes were caught for 1st downs. I also calculated whether they picked up their first downs through the air or after the catch and the numbers were nearly identical. Neither player has a particular advantage in this category, but it's a positive that both TEs gained so many first downs in general.

Hope y'all enjoyed and it helped you figure out who you like a little more. I'm sure for most people it'll just reinforce what they thought already, but it can never hurt to have a little bit more data for when you watch film or discuss prospects. I'll be doing a 2nd tier with Kelce, Escobar, Reed and Otten a little bit closer to draft time, so be on the lookout for that.