Final Bengals mock draft before the start of free agency

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Isaiah Likely – Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 2: Pick 63 – Isaiah Likely, TE (Coastal Carolina)

With so many key free-agent tight ends getting slapped with the franchise tag, the Bengals are now in a spot where C.J. Uzomah or the draft are their best options to find a starter for next year. Uzomah is a free agent but might command more money than Cincy is willing to pay.

If the draft ends up being the route the Bengals take, Isaiah Likely is one of the best tight end prospects in this year’s class. The Chanticleer scored 12 touchdowns last year and finished the season with 912 yards, averaging 15.5 yards per catch.

While Uzomah had his best season in 2021, he’s still failed to total more than 500 yards in a season and that’s why I’m leaning toward the Bengals going in a different route at the position. Likely could immediately give the stripes offense the high-powered tight end they’ve been needing and he’d give them a solution at the position for the foreseeable future.

Trey McBride was also still on the board here but I went with Likely because he’s such a force in the red zone. That’d be a great skill to have in such an electric offense.