The Cincinnati Bengals are clearly in the market for a long-term solution at tight end. Even before the team lost C.J. Uzomah to the New York Jets in free agency, the Bengals needed a more dynamic pass catching option that could develop behind Drew Sample and a veteran receiving tight end. That veteran tight end will be Hayden Hurst, but could Isaiah Likely be the developmental tight end?
RiseNDraft’s Ryan Roberts reported that Cincinnati met with Likely at the NFL Scouting Combine. That makes sense since Likely is a very polarizing prospect. Since Coastal Carolina doesn’t face the stiffest competition, it is hard to gauge how well he projects to the NFL. He exploded onto the scene by piling up 12 touchdowns in 2021 with 912 yards on 59 yards (15.5 yards per catch).
The trouble is that Likely has several things going against him that doesn’t help his draft stock. One big thing was him testing pretty poorly for a prospect who needed to show he was on par with the players who went up against more talented defenses.
Isaiah Likely is a TE prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 4.84 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 516 out of 998 TE from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/y0C4ZWGE7x #RAS pic.twitter.com/GwlfRyqgAx— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 6, 2022
This could be Likely struggling to test well while also focusing on bulking up a frame that looked more like a wide receiver at Coastal Carolina. He Weighed in at 245 pounds at the Combine while measuring in at 6-foot-4. He still showed off an amazing leaping ability that jumps off when watching some of his big plays, though.
Even with that though, Likely also is going to be fairly limited at what he can do early in the NFL. He will be a liability as a blocker, so lining him up anywhere but as an obvious receiving threat is pretty much impossible early on.
It is more likely that Likely is a Day 3 target after his rough Combine outing. That could be something that interests Cincinnati if they miss out on one of the earlier targets at tight end.