One of the biggest decisions that the Bengals have to make this offseason is whether to re-sign Tyler Eifert or not. It seems likely that the Bengals will try and give him a one-year deal that is filled with incentives to give him a chance to make the money he deserves while protecting the team.
Now, if Eifert ends up signing somewhere else, that leaves a pretty big hole in the Bengals offense, and even if he stays, he has proven he has an incredibly hard time staying healthy.
If the Bengals are looking to add more depth to their tight end unit, then this could be the draft to do it as it is a fairly deep class. Mike Mayock gives his top five tight ends for this year’s draft.
1). Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst is the best tight end in the draft, but a big reason for that is because he is already 24-years old. He spent two years trying to make it as a big league baseball player before he decided to walk on at South Carolina.
From there his career took off. He has been a major piece of South Carolina’s offense as a sure handed and athletic tight end. He is 6’5 and has some pretty impressive speed. Of course he also isn’t much of a blocker, but you will find that to be a common theme among tight ends entering the league.
The fact he will be 25 by the time the season starts hurts his draft status more than anything. He could be there in round two for the Bengals.
2). Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Goedert is an interesting prospect. He is essentially a pristine piece of clay that needs to be molded quite a bit. It is obvious by the way Goedert carries his 6’5 frame that he has the power and speed to be successful in the NFL, but he hasn’t played against anything close to the talent level that he will be seeing in the NFL. His insane catches will still catch the eyes of scouts and fans though.
Goedert has a lot to learn still about running routes, but if the Bengals re-sign Eifert then he could have a few years to develop into the player he has the potential to be. He obviously isn’t the ideal guy to draft and play, but maybe he could end up being the second tight end behind Tyler Kroft in that case.
3). Mike Gesicki, Penn State
He is a far more polished prospect than some of the other comparable talents in the second round. He is much more NFL ready as far as running routes are concerned, and he is a very sure handed receiver. His issues start with blocking. He is 6’6, but he is a lanky 6’6 who doesn’t have much power behind him. He is a huge liability in the run game.
If the Bengals want an insurance plan for Eifert than this is their guy. If Eifert goes down then they can throw Gesicki into his pass catching role, and they will still have a pretty decent mismatch for Andy Dalton to exploit.
4). Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Andrews is a big red zone target. He caught 22 touchdowns over three seasons, but it is hard to ignore that he could be one of the worst blockers in this draft class. Now most of these guys aren’t good, but Andrews is basically like throwing a receiver in as a tight end with all the big guys. That could hurt his value going int the draft.
There is no denying Andrews play making ability in the passing game, and if he falls to day three of the draft the Bengals could do worse than picking up an Eifert insurance policy that late in the draft. Although I do have a hard time believing Marvin Lewis would play a guy who doesn’t block at all.
5). Will Dissly, Washington
Dissly is a throwback tight end who has experience lining up next to the offensive line. He isn’t just a huge mismatch slot receiver. He knows how to use his body in the running game.
He is still finding his way into the role as a tight end, but he has the hands to be serviceable in the NFL. It is hard to say how far Dissly will fall, but given his set of skills and the time the Bengals could have to develop him, it could be a match made in heaven if they select him.