Bengals: Biggest mistake in 2021 NFL Draft was not drafting tight end

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bengals impressed with how well they did in the 2021 NFL Draft but the only thing they really whiffed on was not addressing the tight end position. They had 10 draft picks and failed to draft a tight end with any of those picks.

According to John Breech of CBS Sports, not drafting a tight end was the only thing the Bengals did wrong during the 2021 NFL Draft.

Breech offered this analysis as to why,

"One of the Bengals biggest needs going into the draft was at tight end and for some reason, they decided to completely ignore the position even though they had TEN picks in the draft. The depth chart at tight end is thin and there was just no excuse for not adding at least one to the roster during the draft. Right now, the top two tight ends on the roster are Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah."

Clearly, Drew Sample made a positive impression on Zac Taylor and the Cincinnati Bengals. The 2019 second-round pick out of Washington grabbed 40 receptions for 349 yards and found the end zone for the first time in his young career. Sample might have shown potential in 2020, but tight end is still an area of concern for the Bengals and they failed to address it in the draft.

They didn’t have a shot at Kyle Pitts, who went No. 4 overall to the Falcons, but Cincinnati had their shot at any other tight end in the draft and passed on all of them. They did sign UDFA Pro Wells out of TCU but otherwise, the team failed to address a position that needs fine-tuning.

The Bengals could have used another tight end on their roster.

Breech mentioned Uzomah as the other top option at the position but he appeared in just two games this past year due to injury. If he’s healthy, he’s a nice player, but that wasn’t the case in 2020 and it’s hard to get excited about Uzomah this year coming off an injury.

Rounding out the position are Thaddeus Moss, Mason Schreck, Pro Wells, and Mitchell Wilcox, none of whom have appeared in an NFL game. The Bengals have high expectations for Sample and hope that he can be the dominating tight end they’re looking for but drafting a tight end, even on Day 3, would have been a wise move.

Breech did defend the Bengals briefly, however, stating:

"That being said, even if the Bengals would have taken a tight end, it wouldn’t have been until the fourth round or later, so it’s hard to completely crush them for taking a pass on the position."

While I agree that whoever they took on Day 3 wouldn’t have been a starter, the Bengals weren’t looking for a starter. They simply needed a viable backup or third-string option behind Sample and Uzomah, if he’s healthy enough to play. One of their many Day 3 selections could have been spent on a tight end, but this is further proof that Cincinnati believes Sample is going to be the guy at tight end moving forward.

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Sample showed that he could be a nice player last year, so here’s to hoping he continues to improve in year three.