Tight end is seen by many as one of the top needs for the Bengals this offseason. But if Zac Taylor plans to run an offense similar to that of the Rams, the Bengals 2018 tight ends could be a good fit.
The Bengals gave Tyler Eifert another shot to stay healthy last year, and he couldn’t do it. One of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL when healthy, Eifert has been a crucial component in Cincinnati’s offense and when he went down (seemingly every year), it hurt the team bad.
I was in favor of bringing Eifert back, but thought they needed to address the position in free agency as well. When Eifert got hurt, again, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft stepped up, but neither could completely filled the void left in that offense.
Even Kroft caught the injury bug and had to be shut down for the season as well. They are both talented players, but are simply do not threaten the defense enough in the pass game.
The position may be due for a makeover, with Eifert, Uzomah, and Kroft all entering free agency. But when you look at what the Rams do offensively, that may not be necessary. The Bengals can let Eifert go, but Kroft and Uzomah have the skill set the Bengals need to run that offense.
During the season, the Rams ran primarily 11 personnel (1 tight end and 1 running back). Quarterback Jared Goff had plenty of weapons at wide receiver with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp before he was lost to injury.
The Bengals have a nice trio themselves with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and John Ross. They also do a great job using running back Todd Gurley in the pass game and the Bengals should do the same with Joe Mixon.
With that many talented pass catchers, the Rams offense doesn’t require a tight end who is a major factor in the pass game. Both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are good run blockers and receivers. With Kupp sidelined by injury, the Rams used more two tight end sets, but have not needed to lean on Higbee and Everett in the pass game.
Kroft is an excellent run blocker who can catch the ball as well, but is not winning a lot of one-on-one matchups. If the Bengals incorporated the Rams style of offense, they wouldn’t need him to. With Green, Boyd, Ross, and Mixon on the field, the tight end would be the fifth best receiver option and Kroft would be fine for that. He is just not suited for an Eifert type of role.
Uzomah on the other hand is not as good as a run blocker as Kroft is, but better as a receiver. The team can use both and favor Uzomah in definite passing situations where his added athleticism may be of assistance.
The Bengals would be smart to re-sign the pair of tight ends and focus on the offensive line and defense in the NFL Draft.