4 significant questions for the Bengals tight ends this season

  • What to expect
  • Third-stringer
  • Pass-protection
  • Passing on draft prospects
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tanner Hudson (87) completes a catch as Green Bay Packers safety
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tanner Hudson (87) completes a catch as Green Bay Packers safety / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Who will be TE3?

The main question currently facing the tight end position for the Bengals is who will be the third tight end behind Smith and Sample. Both veterans sat out of the first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers and they will likely continue doing so if the offensive starters do not get snaps in the next two matchups. 

This leaves a lot of opportunities for the other guys on the roster to compete for the third spot. Tanner Hudson appeared to have a leg up in the competition but suffered a concussion in last week’s game. We don’t know if he will be back in time to make a significant push for the roster. 

Also dealing with an injury is Mitchell Wilcox. We do not know when he will be available to return. Wilcox has been on the PUP list since re-signing with the club in July. 

The two healthy tight ends, Nick Bowers and Devin Asiasi will likely see a heavy dose of action in the next preseason games. Asiasi played in 12 games last season and only had two receptions for five yards but had an impact in other ways. 

Bowers spent last season on the Bengals’ practice squad, although he was called up in the playoffs. He made a few nice blocks versus the Packers and had one catch on the evening for three yards.  

The third tight end must provide value on special teams. This includes being an emergency long snapper. This is something that Hudson has been working on during the offseason. Can another guy work in his place if he is out for an extended period?

With the competition for the third tight end position behind Irv Smith Jr. and Drew Sample still being played out, it could come down to the final play of the preseason to determine who will take the third tight end spot heading into the season.