Signing of Tyler Eifert Is Latest in Recent Trend of Former Bengals’ Top Picks Joining Jaguars

John Shipley

As of Wednesday afternoon, former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is officially a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The eighth-year veteran will be a key piece of the roster next season, but he is also the latest in a recent trend of former Bengals' top picks finding their way to Jacksonville.

Eifert follows the 2019 signing of offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and the 2020 signing of cornerback Darqueze Dennard by the Jaguars' front office. While each of these players has had different careers and varying future and past roles with the Jaguars, it does represent an influx of former Bengals to Jacksonville.

Eifert was the Bengals' top pick in 2013, being selected with the No. 21 overall pick. The following year, the Bengals selected Dennard with the No. 24 pick, and then in 2015, the Bengals took Ogbuehi with the No. 21 overall pick.

With Ogbuehi spending one season with the Jaguars in 2019 and Eifert and Dennard expected to contribute in 2020, all of the Bengals' top picks from 2013-2015 will have played a part on recent Jaguars' squads. 

Eifert played in 59 games for the Bengals, starting in 36 contests over seven seasons. In that period, the former Notre Dame tight end and 2015 Pro Bowl player caught 185 receptions for 2,152 yards and 24 touchdowns. Injuries sapped his long-term potential with the Bengals, but his 2015 season, which saw him catch 13 touchdowns, was legitimately an elite campaign.

Denard played in 77 games over six seasons for the Bengals, starting in 24 of those games. During that span, the technically sound and versatile cornerback recorded 274 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, and 22 pass deflections. Dennard never became a top-tier cover man, but he was one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league during his peak.

As for Ogbuehi, who played 14 games as the Jaguars' swing tackle in 2019 before signing with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month, his time with the Bengals was less positive than the tenures of Eifert and Dennard. In four seasons, he appeared in only 35 games, making 25 starts at offensive tackle. The majority of his time was marred by issues in pass-protection,

Why have the Jaguars targeted so many former Bengals in recent years? There is no concrete reason. The Jaguars have had major needs at swing tackle, tight end, and cornerback in the last two offseasons, and Eifert, Dennard, and Ogbuehi all fit the team from a cultural and schematic standpoint. Eifert and Dennard specifically are known as high-effort technicians who play with a gritty nature, some traits the Jaguars covet. 

But it is an interesting recent trend that is worth monitoring moving forward. The Jaguars are far from becoming Bengals south, but adding three first-round picks from one team in recent years is at the very least somewhat noteworthy, even if it is just a matter of coincidence.