We’re only a week away from the upcoming NFL Draft, and the Cincinnati Bengals, like the rest of the teams throughout the league, are finishing their final preparations to bring in rookies to fill out the remaining holes on the roster.
On Thursday, Bengals de facto general manager Duke Tobin held a press conference in which he discussed the need for tight end, the need to draft the best player available, and the possibility of trading out of the first round.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway, Tobin said that if the best player available in the first round is a tight end, that’s the way they’ll likely go.
Duke Tobin on taking a TE in the first round: If the best guy available is a tight end, then we'll probably go that route.— Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) April 20, 2023
Stresses they will take the best player available
The Bengals signed Irv Smith Jr. and re-signed Drew Sample, both to one-year deals, but the position is still very much a need for the team. However, Smith and Sample provide somewhat of an insurance policy for the Bengals if the draft doesn’t go their way early.
While they’d like to select someone like Michael Mayer out of Notre Dame with the No. 28 overall pick, if he’s not available, they don’t need to reach for someone, especially considering the depth of this year’s tight end class, and the fact they will most likely be able to find a tight end in the second round or later.
The work they’ve done in free agency this year, which includes not only the signing of a tight end, but Orlando Brown Jr., safety Nick Scott, and bringing back linebacker Germaine Pratt, allows the team to not reach for any player in any round. This allows them to select players that will not only help them win this year but in future years as well. It’s exactly what they did when they selected Dax Hill out of Michigan in the first round last year.
If a tight end they value with a first-round grade isn’t available when they go on the clock next Thursday night, and there’s not someone they like that fell to them, there is a real possibility the Bengals could trade out of the first round, according to The Athletic’s Jay Morrison.
Duke says Bengals could be interested in trading out of first round, but "it's all hypothetical."— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) April 20, 2023
The last, and only, time the Bengals traded out of the first round was in 1989, when the team gave the No. 27 overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for the Falcons’ second, fourth, and 10th-round selections. The Bengals used those extra picks to draft UCLA running back Eric Ball, Arkansas linebacker Kerry Woods and Pittsburgh defensive back Cornell Holloway. The Falcons used their extra first-round pick on Northern Arizona wide receiver Shawn Collins.
If the Bengals don’t like what they see as the first round unfolds, or if they like the way things are falling for them potentially in the next couple of rounds, they could look to move back and collect more picks. Without any glaring holes on the depth chart, things could go several ways for the Bengals during next week’s draft, including the real possibility of having to wait until Friday to see who they will select first.