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Should Cincinnati draft a tight end in the first round? Adam Jones weighs in

At least one former Bengal thinks so.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Adam Jones
Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Drafting a tight end in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft just seems to go against the grain for some of us. After all, the Cincinnati Bengals have only gone that route three times in the 55-year history of the draft.

Of course, two of those three choices turned out pretty good. The Bengals picked up Jermaine Gresham in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and Gresham went on to have a pretty productive career with Cincinnati, joining Mike Ditka and Keith Jackson as the only tight ends in NFL history with over 50 receptions in the first three years of their career.

Despite that production, the Bengals went back to tight end in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft when they picked up Notre Dame sensation Tyler Eifert. When healthy, Eifert proved to be one of the better receiving threats in the league. In 2015, despite playing in only 13 games, he caught 52 passes for 615 yards and led all tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions.

The first time Cincinnati selected a tight end in the first round was in 1977 when it went with Mike Cobb of Michigan State. Cobb played only one season for the Bengals before being traded to the Chicago Bears.

With so many other needs (cornerback, offensive line, defensive line, safety, running back, even wide receiver), does Cincinnati really need to go back to the tight end route? At least one former Bengal thinks so.

“We’re drafting a tight end,” former cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones declared recently. “I like Darnell Washington, from Georgia. I like Michael Mayer from Notre Dame. If I had the pick, I think they should take Darnell Washington, he’s a more all-around player. If both of them are gone, I think we’ll go with the best player available, but we need a tight end.”

The only question is how soon should Cincinnati grab one? The Bengals just signed Irv Smith, Jr., who was a second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2019 NFL Draft. Smith has yet to live up to his potential, but showed glimpses of what he is capable of in 2020 when he had 30 receptions for 365 yards (an average of 12.2 yards per catch) and five touchdowns in only 13 games.

Smith joins one of the better receiving groups in the NFL with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. And Cincinnati recently re-signed another former second-round selection in tight end Drew Sample, although Sample is more of a blocking tight end.

Several other prognosticators agree with Jones that tight end is the way to go in the first round. But what do you think?


What position should the Bengals target in the 2023 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Tight end
    (95 votes)
  • 17%
    (111 votes)
  • 13%
    Offensive line
    (81 votes)
  • 52%
    Best player available
    (324 votes)
  • 1%
    (9 votes)
620 votes total Vote Now