The Cincinnati Bengals have a fair number of pass-catchers, but this offseason will provide chances to enhance the tight end position. Pending Joe Burrow’s return to health, the Bengals have a lot of the weapons in place to be an elite and explosive NFL offense. A legitimate receiving threat at tight end for the Bengals is missing.
Whether you look at Travis Kelce in Kansas City or what Jimmy Graham used to be in New Orleans, the best offenses in the league have an elite TE more often than not. Cincinnati’s current primary tight ends C.J, Uzomah and Drew Sample are adequate. The pair has just 159 catches in eight combined seasons.
Those numbers are not going to take eyes the Bengals two best receivers, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. So, here are some options the Bengals should explore to improve the position prior to the 2021 season.
The group of pending free agents at tight end isn’t spectacular, but two names make some sense for the Bengals. First is Jared Cook. Cook has been somewhat injury-prone in his career and is 33 years old. Thus, Cook would be relatively cost-efficient. Cook was a Pro Bowler who scored nine touchdowns as recently as 2019.
Cook would be a worthwhile gamble for Cincinnati. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is familiar with Gerald Everett from his time as an assistant with the Los Angeles Rams. Everett has never been a featured tight end with Los Angeles, but he has averaged over ten yards per catch in two of his three seasons.
Everett may be worthy of an opportunity and Taylor is a logical person to help give him one.
Pitts is the best TE prospect to enter the NFL in quite some time. The reigning Mackey Award winner as the best TE in college football scored 12 touchdowns in eight games this year. Pitts has the kind of size and speed blend that has become very trendy in today’s NFL.
Pitts is going to be a first-round pick and Cincinnati rarely makes first-round trades. Would the Bengals take a tight end with the fifth pick? I don’t know, but if Cincinnati doesn’t love the offensive linemen available to them when on the clock, Pitts makes a heck of a lot more sense on the roster than another WR.
Rookies not named Pitts
Pitts is the only first-round tight end prospect, but there are six other rounds in the draft. Brevin Jordan from Miami (FL) is another good mix of size and speed. Hunter Long grabbed 57 catches at Boston College last year. Jordan and Long would look good in Cincinnati’s impending new stripes.
The Bengals should not ignore the wide range of players and methods available to them to add and new TE in what is often a key piece to any potentially explosive offense.