The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone and while there were plenty of takeaways to be had, one of the biggest is the faith the Cincinnati Bengals showed in Irv Smith Jr. to be their starting tight end and their right tackle options.
Lots of people had the Bengals addressing tight end and right tackle as early as the first round. Well, after seven rounds passed, the team didn't add anyone at those spots with any of their eight selections.
Smith was signed in the offseason after the Bengals lost Hayden Hurst to the Panthers in free agency and while it wasn't a bad move by any means, Smith is injury prone. No one would have blamed the Bengals for not trusting the former Viking to remain healthy but they showed that they think he's their guy at tight end.
Cincinnati also passed on adding a right tackle in the draft. Jonah Williams feels like the guy who will be starting there but La'el Collins, Jackson Carman, and Cody Ford are all going to be in the mix for that starting right tackle spot. Not drafting a right tackle proves that the stripes think one of these guys are more than capable of locking down the right side of the line.
Bengals appear to be okay with TE and RT situations
Not drafting a tight end was a surprise mainly because of how stacked the position was this year. Heck, Zack Kuntz didn't go until the seventh round and that guy is one freakish athlete. Yes, the Bengals could use depth but the deep class made it seem as though drafting a tight end would be a guarantee for Cincy. Not so much.
As for right tackle, it's no secret that the Bengals haven't been good at drafting offensive linemen. Perhaps their new strategy will be to sign offensive linemen in free agency rather than trying to develop their own talent.
How do you feel about these two positions now that the draft is over and no reinforcements are coming?