3 tight end options if Bengals don't select Brock Bowers in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

Cincinnati has options when it comes to the TE position in the draft.
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It is hard to imagine the Cincinnati Bengals not selecting Georgia tight end Brock Bowers if he is available at No. 18 overall. It feels like a fait accompli at this point. Several mock drafts have 18th overall as the former Bulldog's floor. Some who cover the team speak as if he is already available for Cincinnati to grab. Fans have inserted his image next to Bengals players like Marvel YouTubers inserting Hollywood stars into fan-fiction posters of the next Avengers movie. 

Even Pro Football Focus has decided to propagate the idea of Bowers heading to Cincinnati by selecting him for the Bengals in their latest mock draft. One can’t help but surmise that PFF could be participating in some fan fiction of their own. 

However, the possibility exists that Bowers to Bengals could not materialize. Perhaps he will be selected by another team caught up in the hype. Maybe Cincinnati will opt for an option along the offensive or defensive line instead.

What happens then? Are there other options that offer a facsimile of what the Georgia tight end would bring to Cincinnati? Here are three players in the 2024 NFL draft that could provide some of what Bowers offers without the first-round price tag.

3) Jaheim Bell, Florida’s State

If you are looking for another versatile option at tight end that the offense could use as a potential weapon, Florida State’s Jaheim Bell might be the best bet. Bell lined up everywhere for the 'Noles. Florida State used him as an in-line tight end, fullback, wing, running back, and receiver. However, he spent what seemed like the majority of his time out wide. 

Bell compares well to a player identified as a possible Bengals target in last year’s draft: 49ers tight end Brayden Willis. The differences are that Willis had more opportunities to pass block in college, and selecting Bell will cost more in draft capital than Willis. 

Where Bell’s play will excite fans is when he lines up in the slot and as a receiver. He is an excellent receiver when pass-catching and catches with confidence. Furthermore, he is great at running after the catch. Think of him as more of a “scat receiver” than a “body-up” type when he gets involved in the passing game.

Bell can get open underneath the coverage and also outrun starting cornerbacks. These skills have been on display since his days with South Carolina. 

In terms of blocking, Bell excels at the point of attack and in space. His pass protection and blitz recognition need to improve, as his pass protection lands him third on this list.

Pro Football Focus lists Bell at 175, while Mock Draft Database ranks him 165th. In either case, Cincinnati must target the talented and versatile tight end in the fifth round. That is if he's still available at No. 49 and the Bengals don’t go with Bowers in the first round.