/The Cincinnati Bengals selected their second tight end of the 2015 NFL draft by picking Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah - a 264-pound player who posted 29 career receptions (for 435 yards receiving) and seven touchdowns. It's the first time that the Bengals have selected two tight ends in the same draft since 1985, when the team took Keith Lester (sixth round) and Howard Stanfield (11th round).
This moves describes four points:
- Jermaine Gresham is (soooooooo) not returning to Cincinnati; if a concluding story could articulate a higher celebration, I haven't seen it.
- The team's depth chart at tight end is of reasonable concern.
- How is Tyler Eifert's rehabilitation going after he suffered a dislocated elbow last September?
- Was this selection a stretch, or do the Bengals really care about how you value players on your draft board (I'm thinking not).
The Bengals 2015 draft could be categorized into one word: Physical. After drafting two offensive tackles in the opening two rounds, the Bengals acquired a tight end who is effective in the passing game and noted for his blocking. They continued with a defensive back that addresses contractual gaps next season and took a linebacker that believes is the best linebacker in the draft, and earned Big 12 Defensive player of the year honors.
With that background information tapped into memory, it's not necessarily surprising that Cincinnati selected their second tight end this weekend, taking a player who is more described as a blocking specialist with a wide body and (not my words) untapped potential.
The Bengals entered the draft dangerously thin at tight end. Jermaine Gresham left for free agency and underwent a procedure to repair a herniated disc; based on the coach's anonymous comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer, a return to Cincinnati seemed unlikely at best. Alex Smith is gone, which left an injured Tyler Eifert to lead a jagged roster that includes Kevin Brock and Jake Murphy. Eifert is projected to be ready for training camp this year.
Cincinnati focused in on C.J. Uzobah, who wasn't even invited to the 2015 National Scouting Combine.
"Obviously, it's not a knock on the other tight ends or anything, but I felt like I should have definitely been there," Uzomah said of the snub. "I felt that coming out here, I kind of proved that with my numbers and in the workout. I definitely came out with a chip on my shoulder."
Uzobah's number during Auburn's pro day are ridiculous. The 6-5 tight end, who weighs more than 260 pounds, Uzobah ran the 40-yard dash at 4.63. Per Joel Erickson with Alabama.com:
Uzomah looked like a natural pass-catcher, hauling in several difficult catches with ease, checking his numbers against what he'd seen at the Combine the whole way. "I also saw that I was the third-heaviest," Uzomah said. "I felt like, I'm kind of pushing a load, but as long as my 40 time was good, as long as I feel good running, I can keep this weight on." By the time the day ended, Uzomah might have helped himself more than any other Tiger at Auburn's Pro Day.
Whether or not Uzomah was selected ahead of his projection -- some viewed him a college free agent -- is really of no consequence. The Bengals have relied on their board all weekend and this is another example of that.