Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski spent four seasons (1995-1998) with Seattle as the Seahawks' offensive coordinator. In three of those four seasons, Bratkowski's scoring offense ranked inside the top-ten -- including 1997 when Warren Moon led a passing offense that ranked first in the NFL.
As I was examining Bob Bratkowski's career as an offensive coordinator, I was interested in something: what tight end was the most productive? How productive have tight ends been in general? Three times in a Bob Bratkowski offense has a tight end recorded more than 30 receptions. Three times in a Bob Bratkowski offense has a tight end recorded more than 300 yards receiving. Seattle's Christian Fauria had the most productive season as a tight end in 1998, recording 37 receptions and 377 yards receiving. Reggie Kelly's 31 receptions in 2008 is the only time a Bengals tight end recorded 30 receptions or more in a season during Bratkowski's entire reign as the Bengals offensive coordinator. Of the four most productive tight ends in a Bob Bratkowski NFL offense, Matt Schobel's stint was the most productive, scoring nine times with a 22.5-reception-per-season average.
|* Most productive tight ends with Bratkowski as the offensive coordinator in Seattle.|
With Bratkowski's history of tight end usage in the past, does it make sense for the Bengals to address tight end with their first pick in the NFL Draft? Or even their first three picks? It goes without saying that the Bengals do need someone. Ideally, someone that can block and that's smart enough to break into a hot route, knowing where the first down marker is when quarterback Carson Palmer needs to get rid of the football on third down. It would also be nice if the Bengals used the tight end to open up lanes for guys like Andre Caldwell to thrive underneath. Yes, it would be nice if the Bengals used a tight end to run the seam and pick up over ten yards on a beautifully crafted over-the-shoulder reception. These things are glorious. These things are what the Bengals were used to doing back in the glory days with guys like Dan Ross, Bob Trumpy and Rodney Holman.
Historically speaking, that's not the reality in a Bob Bratkowski offense. Tight ends are blockers. Tight ends go into routes every once in a while, but rarely find themselves in a position to make a play. One could make the argument that Bratkowski just hasn't had a tight end talented enough to incorporate into the passing offense. And that could be true. But I also find it interesting that in the 13 seasons that Bratkowski has been an NFL offensive coordinator, neither the Seahawks or the Bengals made it a point to acquire someone better.
Taking into consideration that historical reality applies here more than the fantasy of acquiring a super-stud tight end being the team's third leading receiver, is it worth it for the Bengals to draft a tight end in the early rounds only not to use him as a receiving tight end in a Bob Bratkowski offense?
tight end production as the Seahawks offensive coordinator.
tight end production as the Bengals offensive coordinator.