The Jackson Factor – Part II: Ender’s Game

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Sep 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals runnings backs coach Hue Jackson against the Green Bay Packers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals draft has earned more than a few ‘B’ grades from draftniks and pundits alike.  Outside of Darqueze Dennard, even close followers of the Bengals developed knitted eyebrows and bitter-beer faces as the subsequent rounds unfolded.  Heading into the Draft, the Bengals needs were obvious: cornerback, center, and rush linebacker seemed the most pressing.  Additionally, many speculated that offensive tackle was a critical need, and admittedly, Tanner Hawkinson and Marshall Newhouse are relative commodities.  Still, as long as Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith are earning Bruce Matthews awards from PPF, then need is not as dire as some may suspect.  In fact, when examining the depth chart in earnest, the Bengals are still sitting very deep at most positions.

Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Except tight end.  Disturbingly, the Bengals only have three listed tight ends on their current roster, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert among them.  The third, Kevin Brock, was signed at the conclusion of the regular season last year.  Brock was an UDFA in 2009 and has been signed by nine NFL franchises since that time, but he has only seen the field in six total games, four of which concluded in loses.  Brock is training camp fodder, seemingly his role in the NFL.  It would be surprising if the Bengals believe that he is going to provide genuine depth behind their two pedigree first rounders.