I remember a few years back feeling like the Tight End position was one of the weakest position groups on the Cincinnati Bengals depth chart. Reggie Kelly was a solid blocker and a great teammate but there wasn’t a major receiving threat at the position for many years prior to the 2010 season. Heading into the 2013 season it has the potential to be one of the strongest position groups on the team. 2010 1st round draft pick Jermaine Gresham (pictured below) has been solid since he entered the league and for the most part has shown consistent growth each season. Last season he had career highs in receptions (64), receiving yards (737), and yards per reception (11.5) while catching 5 TD’s and becoming the first Bengals TE to have 3 consecutive seasons with 50 or more receptions.
The Bengals surprised many by using their 2013 1st round draft pick to select another TE in Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert (pictured below). Eifert, like Gresham, is another big body at 6’6″ and 250 lbs. Eifert was a 2012 All American and had the third best performance by a TE in Notre Dame history as he had 50 receptions for 685 yards (13.7 yards per catch) and 4 TD’s as a senior. It’s fun to daydream about what Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden may concoct with both Gresham and Eifert potentially being on the field at the same time.
Veteran Tight End Alex Smith (pictured below) was signed as a free agent earlier in the offseason, he spent the past 3 seasons in Cleveland and is a solid blocker. The Bengals also have 2012 4th round TE Orson Charles on the roster who seems to have solid hands & speed, he has also been getting some work at the fullback position at the teams OTA’s. Charles had 8 receptions for 101 yards last year during his rookie season. Richard Quinn is also fighting for a roster spot, he was a 2nd round pick back in 2009 by the Denver Broncos but has yet to play in a game for the Bengals.
Word has it that the Bengals may possibly keep up to 4 TE’s on the roster heading into the 2013 season, we shall see! With the solid depth at this position, the addition of 2nd round RB Giovani Bernard, and a stable of young talented receivers (A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, & Andrew Hawkins) it’s exciting to think about the offensive possibilities.
Dream dream dream.