CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals jumps over Eric Hagg #84 of the Cleveland Browns to catch a pass and make a first down at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Before Jermaine Gresham, the last time Cincinnati used a first round pick to select a tight end during the NFL draft was Michigan State's Mike Cobb in 1977; he was the third of three first round picks Cincinnati had that season. Cobb only played 13 games in Cincinnati before the Bengals traded him to the Chicago Bears before reaching the league's 50-man roster limit in late August of 1978. Cobb and Jermaine Gresham, who was selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, are the only tight ends the Bengals have selected in the first round.
Gresham, who now holds the franchise record for most receptions by a rookie tight end breaking Tony McGee's record of 44 in 1995, tied Bengals rookie Jordan Shipley for most receptions by a rookie in the AFC last year. Gresham, second on the team with 37 receptions, currently has five receiving touchdowns, one shy of A.J. Green who leads the team with six.
So what's the driving force in Gresham? It's the fear of failure, writes Carlos Holmes with the Dayton Daily News:
"I want be relevant," Gresham said. "More than anything, I don’t want to be a bust. That’s been on my mind and I don’t want to disappoint anyone around here. I just want to do my part and help this team win. I’m going to make certain that I work harder than the next guy. I just don’t want to be a bust or disappointment."
Gresham called this weekend a must-win for the Bengals, playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh in a critical AFC North meeting.
"This week’s game is huge," Gresham said. "The Steelers have a great team and it’s going to be very competitive. This is another must-win game. In order to move forward, we have to get better as a whole by putting up more numbers, yards and points. That’s our goal for this game."