Cincinnati Bengals: Winners and Losers vs. Colts

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Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs the ball with Cincinnati Bengals tight end Orson Charles (80) in pursuit to tackle him in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Loser: Orson Charles

One of the biggest disappoints in recent years has been the play of Orson Charles.  He was considered to be a steal in the fourth round of the 2012 draft and came from a favorite school of the Bengals (Georgia).  But Charles has struggled to make an impact on this team since day one.  His fate was seemingly sealed when Tyler Eifert fell to the Bengals in 2013’s draft and the team found it impossible to pass on the opportunity.  Charles struggled to develop as a fullback last year and his struggle has continued this off-season.  He’s been unable to make any impact on the coaches and even the media, which seeks stories of all kinds during the off-season; the only time Charles attracted any attention over the off-season was due to his arrest for wanton endangerment.

Thus far, Charles’ most significant contribution to the Bengals has been his play on special teams; Charles was fifth on the team with nine special teams tackles in 2013.  This, along with his youth, may be the only reasons the Bengals consider keeping Charles as the team’s third tight end over veteran Alex Smith.  But Charles is the inferior player to Smith and lacks Smith’s blocking ability; something that’ll be vital to the team this year as they seek to run the ball more effectively than they did in 2013 when they finished 27th in the league in yards/attempt.  Charles’ time with the Bengals may not be over though in light of the league’s practice squad rule changes.  Because of this, Charles has a realistic shot of making the Bengals practice squad, hence buying himself more time and opportunities. Even if the Bengals choose to place him on the practice squad, it’s likely he’d be an enticing pickup for some developing teams.  The coming week will tell the story of Charles’ future both in Cincinnati and the NFL.