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Mailbag: Thoughts on a first-round tight end?

We dig back into our mailbag for another question, this one from Twitter, asking my thoughts on the Bengals drafting a first-round tight end. I don't see it happening, but I didn't see it in 2013 either.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

"What are your thoughts of drafting another TE in the first round? Overrated Mistake or Filling Need?"
- Tim K

Let me start off by saying, when the Bengals drafted tight end Tyler Eifert in the 2013 NFL draft, my expression couldn't be translated into words (well, until new words were created). It's not that Eifert was an unworthy pick from a draft in which the Bengals had two second round picks and a year after two first-rounders were selected in 2012 -- it's just that it was so unexpected.

Two years later, Eifert has only played 16 regular season games, missing 15 last year with a dislocated elbow and sending Jermaine Gresham from the doghouse, to outhouse, to homeless.  Are we relying on faith for Eifert to repair an early-career image of durability questions? Are we certain that the Gresham era is completely over -- aka, will the Bengals be receptive to a one-year prove it deal as Gresham recovers from a surgical procedure to repair a herniated disc?

What this boils down to is whether there are any first-round tight ends this year. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both say no -- neither featured a tight end in their most recent mock draft. Rob Rang (March 28) and Pete Prisco (March 30) have Minnesota's Maxx Williams going late in the first round and well after Cincinnati picks and Charley Casserly has Williams going to Green Bay.

Based on mock drafts, it would appear that a first-round tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals would be a stretch. Based on the team's needs, it would be a bit frivolous, considering that Marvin Jones, A.J. Green and Eifert will be healthy, mixing it out with Giovani Bernard.

But again... there's the whole 2013 NFL draft that humbled my perspectives. Let's say that I'm 99 percent sure that the Bengals won't draft a tight end with pick 21 this year.