Well, folks, what we all have known for hours has finally come true. Unfortunately, Dez Bryant was still on the draft board. But, per the Cincinnati Bengals' Twitter account, we found out 10 minutes early that the Bengals would be picking Jermaine Gresham. The Broncos just moved up to #22, quickly submitting the pick (Dez Bryant won't even be the first WR picked), swapping with the Patriots.
Here's my take: I hope the Bengals use Gresham correctly. Reports from Enquirer insiders are that the Bengals plan to use him primarily as a red zone threat. If this exhibits itself this season, I'll be greatly disappointed with the pick. There are 5 tight ends in this draft that can block and catch passes in the red zones just as well as Gresham will be able to. Gresham brings some speed that can stretch the field, which is something unique to the tight end position and Gresham's skillset. I hope the guy thrives here, but what we're hearing isn't so promising.
He is a great red zone threat, and a great athlete, but he needs some refinement at the pro level. He'll have to improve his blocking. He'll have to stay healthy after showing some durability issues in the knees. Gresham is the 4th Sooner drafted in the first round.
My secondary concern is that the Bengals are passing over Dez Bryant, a top-5 talent by many accounts, that also fits a need. If Bryant is a perennial Pro-Bowler, this is going to haunt the Bengals for a long time. I'm also worried that Gresham won't be the best tight end drafted this year, especially if durability concerns haunt him.
Reedy has the early word from Coach Lewis: 1) There are no concerns over Gresham's health. Remember, last year he was a top-5 ranked talent. 2) "Great talent, very young guy, still a lot more upside."
From Cincinnati Bengals' Twitter: "Gives us more options right away. Plays our physical style." - Bratkowski
What he brings: Though he provides little as a run blocker and there is a concern about the knee injury that cost him th entire 2009 season, Gresham has bounced back well and turned in a very strong pro day. At 6-foot-5, he runs like a deer and has excellent range as a receiving tight end. He should pose a threat in the vertical passing game over the middle for years to come. Video analysis: McShay
How he fits: Daniel Coats contributed only 16 catches last season with numerous drops and Chase Coffman missed all of his rookie season with an ankle injury and cannot yet be counted on as a downfield threat. Gresham will provide the ability to stretch the middle of the field and open up what was a diminished passing attack a year ago. The Bengals were expected to opt for a tight end and Gresham is the best in this class. - ESPN
Tight end was the one position the Bengals simply had to upgrade in this draft and they do it by selecting the clear-cut best player at that position in Gresham. If Gresham had come out a year ago or hadn't torn his ACL this previous season, he would have been a top 10 pick. The fact that the Bengals took Gresham over Dez Bryant speaks volumes about how they feel about the former Oklahoma Sooner. - SI
What do you think?