5 toughest tight ends on Bengals 2023 schedule

  • Three tight ends on this list play in the AFC North
  • The top two spots seem pretty obvious

Dec 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass
Dec 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Pat Freiermuth

Unfortunately for the Bengals’ defense when they take on the Steelers, they will have to contend with another extremely tough tight end in Pat Freiermuth. 

The former second-round pick is entering his third year in the NFL. To this point, Freiermuth has done everything for his team. He is a dependable receiver and an above-average pass and run blocker. 

Pro Football Focus ranks the former Nittany Lion as the sixth-best tight end in the NFL. Of Freiermuth, PFF’s John Kosko writes:

"“The Steelers trusted Freiermuth in 2021 as a rookie, feeding him 85 targets. In Year 2, that total was boosted to over 100 targets. He finished with the seventh-highest receiving grade in 2022 at 78.3 and continues to be a plus pass protector when asked to do so.”"

John Kosko

Pittsburgh hopes that drafting Washington will free up Freiermuth to be more of a receiving threat. This aspect of their plan is already taking shape in the preseason. 

Once they realize both could be used in different roles to keep defenses guessing, being able to slow down the duo will be a challenge for opposing defenses.

Having both tight ends on their roster only increases how tough playing against them becomes. The Steelers have the potential to have the best combination of tight ends we’ve seen in the NFL since the Patriots, back when New England was a Super Bowl contender every year. 

Freiermuth has already proven his worth and toughness throughout his short NFL career. Now he is free to build upon what he has already developed without always having the pressure of handling all the tight-end duties fall upon his capable shoulders.