With the selections of Eifert in the first round and running back Giovani Bernard in the second, the Bengals offense has some weapons that they have been lacking. While there were five games last year where they scored 30 or more points, which is the first time they had done that since 2005, the Bengals offense was ranked 22nd in the league, which is the fifth straight year they have been 20th or lower.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden didn't ease either one into the flow of things. Starting with the first practice he lined up Eifert all over the field and also had a steady amount of screen passes for Bernard.
"I've been impressed with how they are studying and working hard. When they mess up you can tell it hurts them and they don't want to do it again," Gruden said. "Those two guys are focused on what they can bring to the team and they are going to be very good players."
Eifert made another nice play in the final 11-on-11 period on Sunday when he went up down the middle and snagged it in double coverage.
The biggest reasons why the Bengals took Eifert were because of his natural ball skills and his ability to catch the ball in traffic. Coach Marvin Lewis said he was happy with the other things Eifert was doing, like run blocking.
"It will be great to get him in there and work with Jermaine. Those two guys together will be something to deal with," Gruden said.
Bernard gives the Bengals a back that they haven't had in Lewis' 11 seasons here; one with speed who can also be dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield. There were a couple times over the weekend where Bernard caught a screen pass and was gone up the sideline.
While the Bengals did well over the first quarter of last season in yards after the catch, they were inconsistent the rest of the year. Instead of grinding out yards, this offense needs another playmaker that can generate big chunks of yardage in space.
"He's got great hands and makes people miss on the second level," Gruden said. "Andy needs some of those short passes that turn into 25-yard gains. It's a lot easier on a quarterback. Instead of grinding out every first down with the exception of throwing one deep to A.J. (Green) every now and then we need some guys to get better running after the catch and breaking tackles after contact."
Safety Shawn Williams, who was selected in the third round, spent plenty of time with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer over the weekend, which generally happens during rookie minicamp when a defensive back is selected early.
Many expect Williams to earn the starting spot at strong safety by the time the regular season opens. Zimmer wasn't ready to go that far yet considering that there are still OTAs, minicamp and training camp to go.
"We know what he can do in run support, now we have to see if he can cover," Zimmer said. "He has the ability to cover, he just has to. He has to work on his technique some. If he gets his body position in good shape he should be good."
Onterio McCalebb signed as an undrafted free agent, but the Bengals are moving him from running back to cornerback. McCalebb last played defensive back at Hargrave Military prep school.
Coach Marvin Lewis put McCalebb in touch with former Bengals corner Ken Riley to help mentor McCalebb. Riley was converted from quarterback to defensive back when he was drafted.
"It's a small world, you never know somebody right down the street from you was an All-Pro at cornerback, played quarterback and switched to a defensive player," McCalebb said. "I never knew that. When they were telling me about it, I was like, that's pretty awesome."
The two plan to meet up in July when McCalebb returns to Fort Meade, Fla., before training camp starts.
"He will probably tell me more about his days of playing ball," McCalebb said. "He said he wants to sit down with me and he's going to help me with my back-pedal and all that stuff."
When trying to assess if an undrafted rookie will make the 53-man roster, the first place to look would be linebacker. Of the six linebackers who were on the roster when last season ended, four were undrafted players, including Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur.
Of the early favorites to look to this year, the one that is receiving the most attention is Jayson DiManche. During the first two days of the rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium, DiManche has been playing the SAM (outside) spot as he begins to learn the playbook.
DiManche's biggest strength is his quickness and acceleration. He excelled as a pass rusher at Southern Illinois with a school-record 38 tackles for loss in three seasons and 16.5 sacks, which ranks seventh in school history. Last season he had 49 tackles, 8.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
In college, he played in a 3-4. With the Bengals utilizing a 4-3, they are also going to see if he can drop back in coverage.
Said DiManche about the differences in defenses: "There are a little bit more coverage responsibilities and the run gaps are different. The adjustment though shouldn't be too bad."
"We've got a lot of different guys that can make big plays. Just the time we've been out here throwing, just doing the different stuff, you can see that guys have been working really hard and really trying to get better."- QB Andy Dalton.
A closer look at the Bengals' picks:
Round 1/21 - Tyler Eifert, TE, 6-2, 251, Notre Dame
The Bengals needed to add more playmakers and targets which they did with the selection of Eifert after their top two choices at safety were off the board. He played all the receiver spots at Notre Dame with 29 of his 140 catches at the school going for 20 yards or more. Will be the second tight end and a big target in the red zone.
Round 2/37 - Giovani Bernard, RB, 5-9, 206, North Carolina
The first running back off the board and definitely the change-of-pace back that the Bengals are looking for. He's not an every-down back but he is a complementary back and has great speed on the edge. Also could factor into the return game as he returned punts at North Carolina.
Round 2/53 - Margus Hunt, DE, 6-8, 277, SMU
He led the Mustangs in sacks last season with 8.0 and closed out his career as a record-setting kick blocker, with 17 (10 field goals and seven extra points). The first year is going to be plenty of learning, especially with a deep group at defensive end. However, he could make an immediate impact on special teams and is an insurance policy with Michael Johnson on a one-year deal and Carlos Dunlap in the last year of his contract.
Round 3/84 - Shawn Williams, S, 6-0, 213, Georgia
The pick of a safety came later than expected but Williams has played both strong and free safety. He also made the calls in the defensive backfield, which is something that the Bengals were looking for. He is a physical hitter and should contend for the starting spot at strong with Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles.
Round 4/118 - Sean Porter, LB, 6-0, 213, Texas A&M
Another one who has versatility and played both inside and outside linebacker. His likely position in the NFL is on the weak side but should have an immediate contribution on special teams.
Round 5/156 - Tanner Hawkinson, OL, 6-5, 298, Kansas
He is a converted tight end who played tackle with the Jayhawks. He has all the athleticism to play in the NFL, but must get stronger. He will learn every spot on the offensive line here including center.
Round 6/156 - Rex Burkhead, RB, 5-10, 214, Nebraska
Finished fifth in school history with 3,329 yards but was limited this past season due to a sprained knee and played in only eight games. He is a running back much like Brian Leonard, who is now with Tampa Bay, in that he can do whatever is asked. He will also have an impact on special teams.
Round 6/197 - Cobi Hamilton, WR, 6-2, 209, Arkansas
Broke out his senior season to shatter school records with 90 receptions for 1,335 yards. He can play inside and outside receiver positions. Productivity and versatility compare him to Mohamed Sanu where he could be in mix for one of the final receiver spots.
Round 7/241 - Reid Fragel, T, 6-8, 308, Ohio State
A converted tight end, he played right tackle for the Buckeyes last season and has a good base. He's not a dominant run blocker but is solid in pass protection. He provides some depth on the offensive line but is more of a developmental guy. Plenty of upside but needs work on technique.
Round 7/251 - T.J. Johnson, C, 6-4, 310, South Carolina
Set the record for starts in a career. Known as a cerebral player. While not the most technically gifted player shows potential for development. He will be a project for Paul Alexander to train into a starter, likely practice-squad player.
DE Michael Johnson (tendered at $11.175 million; signed tender March 15).
CB Nate Clements is highly unlikely to be back. He played only eight snaps in the final eight regular-season games and the secondary is trying to be younger.
S Chris Crocker could be re-signed to another one-year deal. He was signed before Week 4 against Jacksonville and helped stabilize the secondary.
LB Thomas Howard is a priority to be re-signed but he might have some other teams interested. He led the team in tackles in 2011 but suffered a knee injury prior to Week 2.
LB Sean Porter (4/118): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G Tanner Hawkinson (5/156): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
RB Rex Burkhead (6/190): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
WR Cobi Hamilton (6/197): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
T Reid Fragel (7/240): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
C T.J. Johnson (7/251): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
DE Robert Geathers: Potential UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
DE Wallace Gilberry: Potential UFA; $6.3M/3 yrs, $2.1M guaranteed.
LS Clark Harris: Potential UFA; $4.95M/5 yrs, $600,000 guaranteed.
WR Andrew Hawkins: ERFA; terms unknown.
P Kevin Huber: Potential UFA; $14M/5 yrs, $3.2M guaranteed.
DE Michael Johnson: FFA; $11.175M/1 yr.
CB Adam Jones: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Rey Maualuga: UFA; $6.5M/2 yrs, $2.25M SB/$250,000 RB and $250,000 WO 2013-14.
S Jeromy Miles: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation); terms unknown.
CB Terence Newman: UFA; $5M/2 yrs, $1.5M guaranteed.
K Mike Nugent: Potential UFA; $3M/2 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
RB Cedric Peerman: Potential RFA; $2.165M/2 yrs, $350,000 guaranteed.
TE Richard Quinn: UFA; $725,000/1 yr, terms unknown.
LB Vincent Rey: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
T Dennis Roland: UFA; $780,000/1 yr.
RB Bernard Scott: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
T Andre Smith: UFA; terms unknown.
WR/KR Brandon Tate: UFA; $966,000/1 yr, terms unknown.
LB James Harrison: FA Steelers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
QB Josh Johnson: UFA Browns; $1.895M/2 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
LB Aaron Maybin: FA; $715,000/1 yr.
G Mike Pollak: UFA Panthers; $780,000/1 yr.
QB John Skelton (waivers Cardinals).
TE Alex Smith: UFA Browns; $905,000/1 yr.
CB Jason Allen (released).
K Josh Brown: UFA Giants; $940,000 base/1 yr.
QB Bruce Gradkowski: UFA Steelers; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Manny Lawson: UFA Bills; $12M/4 yrs, $3M SB/$4.6M guaranteed.
RB Brian Leonard: UFA Buccaneers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
DT Pat Sims: UFA Raiders; $1.5M/1 yr, $250,000 SB.
LB Dan Skuta: UFA 49ers; $3M/2 yrs, $300,000 SB.