I agree, the Bengals offense would be sick with a tight end that can stretch the field and compliment T.J. Houshmandzadeh on third down. During the season the Bengals won their first post-season game, Dan Ross caught 71 passes for 910 yards and five touchdowns. He went on to catch 11 passes for 104 yards and two scores in the 1981 Super Bowl. (Sadly, we lost Dan Ross earlier in the year.) A tight end would greatly benefit this offense. But it's far from a need.
This is the same ol' same ol'... defense.
Every season the same discussion is generated. The Bengals should draft defense -- with good reason. Let's face facts, there's never a confident feeling that this defense will step up. (remember: San Diego).
And honestly, there's no reason to believe that this defense will improve at all through the draft. Marvin Lewis has drafted 35 players since 2003, 18 for defense. Since 2004, Lewis has drafted 14 players on defense out of 26 total players. Since 2005, Lewis has drafted seven players on defense out of 15. It's a good balance honestly. And of the 18 players drafted on defense, only five have left town. That includes every defensive player in the 2003 draft (Elton Patterson, Langston Moore, Khalid Abdullah, Dennis Weathersby) and Matthias Askew. That doesn't include the question marks with Odell Thurman and David Pollack.
More so, no player Lewis has drafted starts on the aging defensive line. The corners he's drafted only "earn" starting time when someone gets a DUI or is injured.
I'm not criticizing Lewis. But with the prospect of Justin Smith departing, David Pollack and Odell Thurman missing 2007, the age of Tory James, Dexter Jackson and Brian Simmons and the I-dont-like-football attitude we've been hearing from Deltha O'Neal, this defense is in more desperation than we really want to believe.
I know, I really didn't talk about tight end.
I've maintained that Chris Henry develops the best mismatches on this team. His tall frame and vertical advantage over linebackers, safeties and nickelbacks is big. The question will always be about his effort and responsibility off the field. There's no doubt he's a kid in need of encouragement, mentorship and an understanding of accountability and responsibility. But if his effort and unresolved character questions are answered, this team could utilize the league's best #3 receiver and keep using Reggie Kelly to solidify pass protection schemes.
Age, injury and character hit this defense hard. And I'm not saying the team won't draft a tight end. In reality, I have no idea. I just can't see them doing so on the first day. The only way this team improves from 2006 is rebuilding and retooling the defense. The draft will help that a little.