Despite their lack of success to find a competent tight end through the draft, in 2015 the Cincinnati Bengals are going to try once again to select one that becomes an important and indispensable part of their offense.
And it’s not going to be a first or even second round player. Like the majority of successful tight ends in the NFL, most of the tight ends in this draft, especially if you’re looking for value out of your pick, are in the middle round area, third or fourth. Guys like Jeff Heuerman from Ohio State who is mostly known as a blocker but has good hands, Clive Walford out of Miami who still needs to improve as a run blocker, Nick Boyle out of Delaware who is a big, physical blocker and nothing much else or Jesse James out of Penn State who is a physical beast but drops the ball way too much to be considered taking before the fifth round.
The Bengals were hoping they won’t be having this problem by now. Tyler Eifert seemed like a great pick and a solid foundation for the future. But he’s mostly been injured since entering the league, playing just one game last season. They’re still hoping he becomes the offensive threat his potential pointed towards, but we might see more and more of a two tight end approach from next season.
The team’s leading tight end in receptions last season was Jermaine Gresham with 62 receptions for 460 yards. The fact that he isn’t re-signed or picked up by anyone in free agency speaks volume for how little appreciation there is for what he brings to the table, which isn’t a lot.
The Bengals seem to be stuck in the good to very good in the regular season but not good enough for the playoffs. Maybe that won’t change until Andy Dalton is no longer the quarterback or Marvin Lewis is removed from the head coaching job. For now, those things are staying put, so upgrading the tight end position seems like a reasonable way of trying to move things in the right direction.