Cincinnati Bengals: Lack of proven tight ends hurts receiving corps

Drew Sample (89) and Mason Schreck (86), Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Sample (89) and Mason Schreck (86), Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Cincinnati Bengals prepare for year two under Joe Burrow and year three under Zac Taylor, the biggest thing for fans to get excited about is the wide receiver position. The receiving corps as a whole, however, could be better, especially at tight end.

Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus agrees with that sentiment and wants to see more from the tight end position in Cincinnati. This is an area of concern for the Bengals and they’ve shown they might not be fully content with the group as it stands right now.

Palazzolo ranked every receiving corp in the NFL ahead of training camp and had the Bengals at No. 13. He praised them for the trio they have front and center in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, but again, wasn’t a fan of their tight end depth.

"Like many teams around the league, the receiving corps is strong, but tight end has few legitimate receiving threats. Last season, Bengals tight ends posted a receiving grade of just 51.1, good for 29th in the league. Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah return with Sample leading the way with 40 catches for just 349 yards (8.7 yards per reception) a year ago.The Bengals have an excellent group of receivers, but they could use a better threat at tight end to round out their group of pass-catchers."

The Bengals’ receiving corps could be ranked a lot higher with a proven tight end at the helm.

Unfortunately, the Bengals haven’t put much into their tight end position. They clearly believe that Drew Sample can have a breakout year and they need him to do just that. Behind him on the depth chart is C.J. Uzomah, who is good, but not great. He also played in just two games last year so he’ll be a bit rusty in 2021 after missing so much time a season ago.

The Bengals might have a stacked trio of receivers but until they see production from their tight ends, it won’t help the stock of the corps. Sample has to have his best year as a pro tight end and Uzomah must stay healthy if this offense really wants to live up to its full potential.

Burrow has weapons at his disposal and maybe he’ll find that he likes throwing to former teammate Thaddeus Moss the most. The former LSU standout could make a surprising leap on the depth chart, especially if Sample continues to thrive in the starting role.

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Hopefully, someone surprises at the position this year because the Bengals need a viable tight end in such an important year.