ESPN analyst identifies Bengals pick as most valuable on day three

Cincinnati might have grabbed one of the steals of the draft with this pick.
Oct 1, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats tight end football Tanner McLachlan (84) scores
Oct 1, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats tight end football Tanner McLachlan (84) scores / Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

After the draft, fans like to run and see what grade their team earned and what the experts thought of their selections. Along with that comes unflattering titles such as “biggest reach” and “most “questionable pick.” Hopefully, your favorite team’s newly acquired players gave a stiff arm to those monikers in favor of more flattering terms like “the biggest steal” or “best value.”

The Cincinnati Bengals have entered the chat

NFL experts on ESPN picked which player represented the best value on Day 3 of the draft. Analyst Field Yates’ answer was Cincinnati Bengals sixth-rounder, Tanner McLachlan. Of the pick, Yates said:

"“… breaks a couple of Gronk’s records amongst tight ends for the Wildcats. Excellent athlete. Low 4.6 at the combine in his 40 time. I thought one of the better route runners aligns all the tight ends not named Brock Bowers in the draft. He could have a role in that passing game with Joe Burrow.”"

Field Yates

Yates was right to highlight McLachlan’s route-running skills and receiving prowess. A tight end mentioned on the same level as Rob Gronkowski is someone not to be trifled with.

However, Yates failed to mention that McLachlan is also an excellent pass blocker, who was charged with blocking some prolific pass rushers from this year’s draft class. For example, McLachlan had to pass block one-on-one against Bralen Trice this season. The Bengals rookie tight end won that matchup versus the 74th overall pick.

McLachlan also won his pass-blocking battle against edge rusher Brennan Jackson. Jackson, a Cincinnati native, was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round. McLachlan is also an accomplished run blocker. He excels in blocking in space, making him an asset on sweeps and reverses when he needs to block against defensive secondary players.

The former Arizona Wildcat was one of the best fits at tight end for the Bengals in the draft. Daniel Jeremiah ranked him as the second-best tight end and 68th-best player overall, which would have put McLachlan in the late second to early third-round range. 

And while Cincinnati opted to select tight end Eric All two rounds earlier, do not be surprised if it is McLachlan who has a more immediate impact. 

McLachlan still being available so late in the draft made Cincinnati’s decision one of the easiest, best, and most valuable picks of the NFL draft weekend.