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Why the Bengals chose Devin Asiasi over O.J. Howard

The Bengals opted for youth over another veteran, but there’s more to the story.

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals fans got pretty excited about the rumors the team was interested in adding O.J. Howard. And that’s completely understood.

Howard was taken nineteenth overall in the 2017 Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And his athletic profile actually suggested he should’ve gone higher. The tight end out of Alabama measured at 6’ 5 3⁄4”, 251 pounds, with a 40-yard dash time of 4.51 seconds. He also had 33 3⁄4” arms and 10” hands.

It was the playing football part that was missing. That’s why he lasted until the nineteenth pick. And it’s why he’s now on his third roster since the end of last season.

While the Bengals showed interest in Howard, it now appears that they preferred Asiasi the entire time. As John Sheeran told us, Cincinnati placed a waiver claim for the former New England Patriots tight end on Tuesday, August 30, before they were set to meet Howard.

The Bengals only learned that their claim for Asiasi was successful the next day at noon, after they had spoken to Howard’s people, meaning, Howard was a backup plan. “Regardless of what happened with Howard, they were hoping Asiasi would end up a Bengal,” Sheeran said. He added that, at this point, Howard can’t even be counted on for his receiving, the area that could have set him apart from Asiasi.

So what is the thinking behind adding Asiasi, and how long will he be in the team’s plans? “They have some injuries at tight end,” Sheeran said, referring to Drew Sample just returning to health and Mitchell Wilcox likely headed for injured reserve. “Asiasi is more of a blocking tight end and lacks receiving experience in the NFL... He’s here to block. That’s all.”

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