Whether the Cincinnati Bengals re-sign Hayden Hurst this offseason or not, they may still spend a high pick on a tight end in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, especially if they plan a future with more two-tight end sets as some have suggested.
The result of what happens with Hurst will justify both where they select one and how great the need is. Hurst, a former first-round pick, signed this past offseason on a one-year contract and was an incredibly impactful addition. He ended the season with 52 receptions for 414 yards.
Having drafted Drew Sample in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Bengals will hope they have better luck this time around if they target a tight end like many are suggesting they will.
With the 28th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they have Cincinnati taking Michael Mayer, a tight end from Notre Dame. Mayer has a large frame at 6-foot-4 and has shown a strong upside in the pass-catching game.
The Independence (KY) native ended his junior season with 809 receiving yards on 67 receptions in 12 games. That was actually down from his sophomore season in which he ended with 840 yards and 71 receptions.
Mayer was the first tight end off the board in the SB Nation mock which may be surprising if that plays out in a similar fashion. There are multiple other quality tight ends that could be on the board, most notably Dalton Kincaid and Luke Musgrave.
If Mayer is there when the Bengals are on the clock, he may very well be the best player available, and it’s hard to fault any team for taking the BPA approach.