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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1) Tanner McLachlan, Arizona

Perhaps the best choice for the Cincinnati Bengals after Bowers is Arizona tight end Tanner McLachlan. The former Wildcat is one of the most underrated players in this draft class.
Pro Football Focus ranks McLachlan 240th overall, while he sits at 243 in Mock Draft Database's overall rankings.

McLachlan is a tenacious run blocker. He is also a very good pass-blocker. And while he was not perfect going against elite pass rushers like Laiatu Latu, Arizona’s coaching staff entrusted him to pass block a couple of the best pass rushers in the draft, Bralen Brice and Brennan Jackson, one-on-one. McLachlan won. 

McLachlan's 45 receptions in 2023 are second only to Rob Gronkowski in Wildcat history for the most catches in a season from a tight end. No, 45 catches is not 90 like some tight ends have recorded in recent years, but Gronkowski holds the school record with 47. No one will argue that he was not a good tight end. 

Mockdraftable compares McLachlan favorably to Michael Mayer, a fan favorite target for the Bengals in last year’s draft. Although that is a body-type comparison, McLachlan is much more athletic than Mayer. Another comp, albeit a bit further down Mockdraftable’s list, is Pat Freiermuth. 

McLachlan has an excellent combination of blocking and catching. Perhaps some do one or the other better, but not both. McLachlan should be on any team’s draft board that is looking for a tight end but doesn’t want to use a first-round pick to acquire one. Hopefully, that will include the Bengals, who could select McLachlan in the sixth or seventh round. They have four total picks in those last two rounds of the draft.

If you are in the camp that wants to see Bowers in stripes, you may be in luck. But if it does not happen, take some solace in knowing that other good tight end options are available throughout the draft who offer some of what Bowers brings. Wiley, Bell, and McLachlan would be excellent backup plans for Cincinnati.