2015 NFL Draft: How Tyler Kroft Fits the Bengals

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Dec 28, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Tyler Kroft (86) runs after making a catch against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankees Stadium. Notre Dame Fighting Irish won the game 29-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With their first of two third-round selections, the Cincinnati Bengals chose to draft Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft. The Bengals get their tight end in Round Three, and Kroft will have the opportunity to earn some playing time in his first season.

Along with Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft instantly becomes Cincinnati’s second best tight end.  He could become a solid dual-threat player with some refinement from NFL coaching.  He’s a willing and competitive blocker in the run game, which is vital for the Bengals when featuring Jeremy Hill.  If he can continue to be an effective blocker, Cincinnati may have just picked up a player who could replace what they lost when moving on from Jermaine Gresham.

Tyler Kroft wasn’t featured as much in the passing game as teams might have liked.  He finished his final season with the Scarlet Knights having produced only 24 catches for 269 yards.  With that said, Kroft proved he could be effective as a receiver during the 2013 season as he hauled in 43 catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns.  This dip in production may have been more to do with the Knights choosing to move him around the field and utilize him as a blocker rather than allowing him to continue to produce strictly as a receiving option.

If my assumption that his dip in production had more to do with Tyler Kroft being a team-first player and focusing on improving the team rather than his draft stock, then the Bengals may have stolen a highly-capable, steal of a tight end in the third round.  He could be one of the better all-around tight ends in this draft class. If my assumption is wrong, Cincinnati found a player who is at least a capable blocker and someone who NFL defenses can’t simply ignore.  It’s not the “sexiest” pick, but adding a tight end around now was a “must” for the Bengals heading into 2015.

Next: How Jake Fisher Fits with the Bengals

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