2015 NFL Draft: How Jermaine Gresham Ends Up Back In Stripes


In 2010, the Cincinnati Bengals used their 21st pick on tight end Jermaine Gresham. Throughout Jermaine Gresham’s career, he has been a solid, all-around tight end, though many fans would argue otherwise. However, in his five-year career, Gresham has made the Pro Bowl twice (2011 and 2012). As we all know, Gresham struggles with dropping passes and fumbling, but we can also agree on the fact that when Gresham is on, he could rival Jimmy Graham as the best tight end in the league.

In 2013, the Bengals used their 21st pick on tight end Tyler Eifert. At the time, Gresham was coming off a Pro Bowl season and the idea was to pair the best tight end in the draft with one of the best tight ends in the league. I wouldn’t say the plan failed, but it didn’t work out how they wanted it to. Although we tend to blame Gresham for the failure, Eifert hasn’t done anything since being in the league. Eifert struggled his first year and missed all of 2014 due to an injury.

At the end of the 2014 season, many fans hoped Gresham would not return, Eifert would become the main starter and the Bengals would draft Gresham’s replacement. Although this plan could still happen, I can’t see it working out to the Bengals’ benefit.

In this draft, ironically, the Bengals have the 21st pick in the first round again. This year, the Bengals will most likely not draft a tight end with that pick; there is simply no tight end that is worthy of the 21st pick. The top tight ends consist of Minnesota’s Maxx Williams and Miami’s Clive Walfold. The Bengals could also draft later tight end talents like Jeff Heuerman from Ohio State and Jesse James from Penn State.

“There’s a place for him here in Cincinnati.”

The return of Jermaine Gresham is solely based on who the Bengals draft and when. If the Bengals take a top tight end, bringing Jermaine Gresham back will not happen, but if the Bengals pick anyone besides Williams and Walford, Gresham could see himself back in the Queen City on something like a two-year deal. Coach Hue Jackson hasn’t completely ruled Gresham out.

“My heart is in Cincinnati. I want to stay there, but its up to them.”

Gresham has also mentioned wanting to stay in Cincinnati several times. I personally wouldn’t mind the decision; Gresham is a good player, Andy Dalton knows Gresham and he would come back at a team-friendly price. The Bengals could always groom his replacement from this draft, but based on the talent that is out there, it wouldn’t be very smart.

Gresham would be the better choice to pair with Eifert going into next season. Remember, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Eifert or the incoming rookie will be healthy or be able to replace 62 receptions and 5 touchdowns.

Next: NFL Draft: Five Bold Predictions for First Round

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