Are the Bengals looking for a tight end in this year's NFL Draft? I believe the question is valid. For the most part, the question has been surrounding Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham, who is arguably the best prospect at the position. Many early mock drafts have the Bengals selecting the Sooners tight end. I've pointed out several times before that I don't believe the Bengals will use their first round pick on a tight end because that's just not how their offense rolls. And with this being Bob Bratkowski's tenth season as the team's offensive coordinator, how many tight ends have the Bengals acquired that were talented enough to be one of the team's primary weapons? Ben Utecht? Chase Coffman?
Then there's Coffman who had a rough rookie season, spending most of his time doing push ups and learning how to block at the professional level. The expectations for Coffman in 2009 turned into a big reach, as the tight end never made the field during the regular season before being placed on the team's Injured Reserve list.
However, that doesn't mean that the Bengals won't go after a tight end in the draft. There's eight other draft selections that could turn into a tight end and the Bengals tight end roster is horrifying to say the least. Aaron Wilson reports that the Bengals will host Penn State Tight End Mickey Shuler Jr., "according to a source close to the Nittany Lions' program".
Shuler made a big impression on NFL personnel directors and scouts with a strong Pro Day workout.
His performance would have ranked him in the top three in all categories among the tight ends that attended the NFL scouting combine. The 6-foot-4, 251-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds, which would have ranked him third among the tight ends. He posted a 37 1/2 inch vertical leap, which would have ranked him third. His 10-11 broad jump, 6.70 in the three-cone and 11.19 in the 60-yard shuttle would have been the top tight end showing, and his 28 bench press repetitions and 4.25 in the 20-yard shuttle would have ranked him second overall.
Shuler was an All-Academic Big Ten selection who caught 27 career passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bengals have been very diligent in looking at this year's crop of tight ends. Jonathan Hayes ran Tight End drills, checking out Rob Gronkowski, during Arizona's Pro Day. The team was also reportedly interested in USC Tight End Anthony McCoy. So yea, the team is looking at tight ends, and you figure that if they elect not to draft Gresham in the first round, the team could draft someone as early as the second.