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BELTRE AND ICHIRO
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While Andy Dalton was throwing deep passes to A.J. Green and the rest of the Bengals receivers on Friday Derwin James Chargers Jersey , Tyler Eifert was on a side field running sprints in shorts and a cut-off shirt. He ran one sprint, then another. Next were some agility drills. The tight end did everything except catch one of Dalton’s spirals.
The Bengals’ most oft-injured player hopes that part comes soon.
The Bengals have gambled that Eifert can stay healthy for a full season and get the NFL’s worst offense moving again. He played only two games last season before hurting his back again, prompting another medical procedure. Eifert was a free agent after the season, and the Bengals decided to keep him with an incentive-laden, one-year deal .
Cincinnati’s offense finished last in the league in yards. A healthy Eifert could help change that.
”I can’t predict the future on that one, but I can testify to the fact that he made a difference when he was up and running for us,” director of player personnel Duke Tobin said. ”We know what he can do if he can get back to that level.”
Eifert is one of Dalton’s favorite targets. He caught 13 touchdown passes in 2015, the most by a tight end in Bengals history. That was the last time the Bengals made the playoffs. A concussion, a dislocated elbow, a torn ankle ligament and two back injuries have limited him to 24 games over the last four years.
Although the Bengals have encouraging reports on Eifert’s back Hayden Hurst Youth Jersey , they’ve decided to go slow with him at the start of camp. He hasn’t been cleared to practice even though he feels he’s ready, forcing him to work out on a side field the first two days.
”When I came back, I thought I’d go right into practice,” Eifert said. ”Everyone knows all the surgeries I’ve had. We’re just being smart about it.”
The Bengals are trying to keep him healthy and get him in shape for the opener at Indianapolis on Sept. 9. He said there’s been no discussion about how much he might play in the preseason.
”I definitely need to get back out there, get some plays full-speed,” Eifert said. ”It’s been a while.”
Eifert hurt his back during the second game last season, a 13-9 loss to Houston. Backups Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah combined for 52 catches and eight touchdowns during the season.
Eifert’s greatest asset is his ability to make catches in tight coverage, the main reason he became Dalton’s favorite target near the goal line. The tight end has made one change in the offseason, dropping at least 10 pounds for quickness.
”I feel a lot better,” he said. ”Everyone is always saying you’re got to block and hang in there in the trenches Cheap Hayden Hurst Jersey , you’ve got to put on weight, but that’s (wrong).”
ON THE SIDE: Linebacker Vontaze Burfict also worked out on the side Friday for the second straight day. He hasn’t been cleared to practice. Burfict is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
ROSS AGAIN: Second-year receiver John Ross made his second impressive catch of camp on a long throw, drawing applause from the crowd of 1,050. Ross missed most of his rookie season with shoulder injuries.
OUCH: Tony McRae fell while trying to break up a pass, and receiver Cody Core landed on the back of the cornerback’s right leg. McRae limped to a cart and was taken off for an exam.

Now that the 2018 NFL draft is over, the focus for teams shifts from evaluating prospects to putting them to use during offseason programs.Over the next few months, the 32 NFL franchises will try to put their respective draft classes in position to succeed next year, especially the future stars taken at the top of the first round.All we can do before the games are played in the fall is pick out which players were best fits for each team and grade them as such.On paper, teams like the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns came out as winners, while the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders didn't fare as well.While the grades hold some standing after the draft Frank Ragnow Lions Jersey , there's always a possibility they can change over the next 12 months once the 256 players taken in the 2018 draft put the pads on and get acquainted with life in the NFL.聽聽聽聽NFL Draft Tracker 聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Team-by-Team GradesArizona Cardinals: A-Atlanta Falcons: B-Baltimore Ravens: ABuffalo Bills: BCarolina Panthers: B-Chicago Bears: BCincinnati Bengals: BCleveland Browns: ADallas Cowboys: ADenver Broncos: A-Detroit Lions: B-Green Bay Packers: AHouston Texans: CIndianapolis Colts: B+Jacksonville Jaguars: B-Kansas City Chiefs: CLos Angeles Chargers: B+Los Angeles Rams: C+Miami Dolphins: B+Minnesota Vikings: C+New England Patriots: A-New Orleans Saints: C+New York Giants: B+New York Jets: AOakland Raiders: C-Philadelphia Eagles: B-Pittsburgh Steelers: BSeattle Seahawks: C+San Francisco 49ers: B+Tampa Bay Buccaneers: BTennessee Titans: BWashington Redskins: B-聽聽聽聽聽聽聽AnalysisNew England Patriots The Patriots were one of the busiest teams during the three-day draft process between the nine picks and eight trades they made.New England took Georgia teammates offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel with its pair of first-round picks, the first of which came in鈥攜ou guessed it鈥攁 trade, but that one took place a few weeks ago as wide receiver Brandin Cooks moved to the Los Angeles Rams.Doug Benc/Associated PressBill Belichick's team picked up a solid corner in Florida's Duke Dawson in the second round before not selecting again until the fifth round.The Patriots made deals to acquire Chicago's second-round pick in 2019 and Detroit's third-round selection next year to set up another successful draft in 12 months' time.The most notable names of the last six picks the Patriots made were wide receiver Braxton Berrios out of Miami and quarterback Danny Etling from LSU.On first glance, Berrios appears to be the perfect fit for the slot role that the Patriots value so much in their offensive scheme.With three solid players taken in the first two rounds, and value gained throughout the rest of the selection process, it's hard to argue the Patriots had a bad weekend.聽聽聽聽 Arizona Cardinals Arizona entered Thursday as one of the teams in contention for a quarterback, but how it would acquire its new signal-caller remained to be seen.聽The Cardinals traded up five spots to No. 10 in order to select Josh Rosen out of UCLA, and with the pick, they gained a hungry quarterback ready to prove the nine teams that passed on him wrong.Rosen enters an ideal situation in head coach Steve Wilks' first season, as the pressure won't be on the rookie to start right away.Rick Scuteri/Associated PressThe ideal scenario for the Cardinals is to bring Rosen along with Sam Bradford beginning the season as No. 1 on the depth chart.Of course Sam Hubbard Jersey , the Cardinals need a little bit of luck to keep Bradford healthy throughout the year, but if he does, it creates a buffer for Rosen to prepare properly before taking over at some point.Arizona picked up an offensive weapon for Rosen in the second round in the form of Christian Kirk from Texas A&M, who should immediately help the Cardinals special teams unit.By adding two key players on offense, the Cardinals improved and set their first-year head coach up for success.Center Mason Cole was a solid third-round selection, as the Cardinals did the best they could with six picks.Although they didn't end up with the volume of prospects some teams did, the Cardinals got value out of theirs and improved positions of need, which is all you can ask for out of a draft.聽聽聽聽 Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City was in a difficult position from the start, as it traded away its 2018 first-round pick to Buffalo a year ago to choose quarterback Patrick Mahomes.When the Chiefs finally got on the clock Friday, they brought in three defensive prospects Bradley Chubb Broncos Jersey , starting with second-round pick Breeland Speaks, a defensive end from Ole Miss.Thomas Graning/Associated PressThe team's defensive approach to the draft continued into Day 3, as all six of the players taken by the Chiefs play on that side of the ball.Although the Chiefs have a loaded offense with running back Kareem Hunt, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce at the forefront, it would've been nice to see them add a bit more depth with so many offensive skill players available at the front end of the second round.Kansas City certainly addressed what it thought in its mind was its biggest needs, but there's no standout star on the team's list of six selections.Giving the Chiefs a low grade could turn out to be the wrong call down the line, but right now their draft class feels a little underwhelming.聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90..



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