If the Bengals want to draft a tight end this year, it will be slim pickings.
This is one of the weaker TE classes in recent memory, but the top two guys are still quality prospects. Miami's Clive Walford and Minnesota's Maxx Williams are two guys who should hear their names called in the early part of Round 2. Though Williams is the No. 1 prospect, some are hoping for Walford to fall to Cincinnati at pick No. 53.
If you go off Pro Football Focus analysis for this year's TEs, you may come away thinking Walford is actually the best prospect: Below are their stats on the best Yards-Per-Route-Run rates, which calculates how many yards a player generates for every route he runs:
Two guys behind Walford who might be worth watching are Vanderbilt's Davis Dudchock and Arkansas' AJ Derby. In two poor passing offenses this past season, both still made the most out of the opportunities they received.
Even with the YPRR adjusted for only against Power 5 conference teams, Walford still came out on top:
Again, Derby and Dudchock were among the best with Derby even topping Williams.
Another area Walford came out on top was yards per route run from the slot:
Notice how far Williams fell when running routes from the slot, something the Bengals like to have their No. 1 TE to at least do occasionally. Derby and Dudchock were nowhere to be found in this area.
In the end, the Bengals probably won't draft a TE early with Tyler Eifert on the roster and Jermaine Gresham lurking, but if they do, Walford looks like the guy they should target. If they wait until later in the draft, Derby and Dudchock look like two names to watch, though both may be available as undrafted free agents.