Three Offensive Moves the Bengals Must Make in Training Camp
Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Auburn Tigers tight end C.J. Uzomah (81) reacts after he scored a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals added four rookie tight ends to the team this year in an effort to replace the presence of Jermaine Gresham. Tyler Kroft will obviously make the roster and the Bengals will be left to choose between C.J. Uzomah, John Peters, and Matt Lengel for the third spot.
Based on the Bengals’ selection of Uzomah, it seems apparent that the team is looking for a player to act as a reserve for Tyler Eifert who’s suffered a couple of injuries in the early part of his career. If this proves true, the Bengals will likely choose between Uzomah and John Peters, as they are more athletic than Lengel is. Uzomah proved to be an effective receiving option at Auburn, but in their system. Despite Uzomah’s impressive size, 6’5″, 264 pounds, he isn’t able to block effectively at this point. He’ll need some serious work in this regard.
Uzomah may have a leg up on John Peters due to his experience playing in the SEC. Peters is a Division III prospect, so his experience is seriously lacking. What he does offer is great athleticism, at least from a testing standpoint. Despite being 6’8″, 265 pounds, Peters ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash. Peters also benched 225 pounds 27 times and posted a 126″ broad jump. This combination of size and athleticism should intrigue the Bengals. If Peters can prove to be an effective blocker, he’ll force the team to make a difficult decision for the team’s third tight end.
At this point one would assume that Uzomah is the choice. His combination of size, receiving ability, and experience in college’s toughest conference gives him a nice resume for the job. But he shouldn’t take his draft status for granted. A player like Uzomah could be retained on the practice squad and not draw significant interest from opposing teams. This means the Bengals may not fear losing Uzomah to another team, so keeping another tight end on the roster doesn’t necessarily mean losing Uzomah. If the team’s agrees with this sentiment, then their decision could be made entirely on merit while the released player is brought back on the practice squad.
Next: A Running Back Decision