The Cincinnati Bengals took a step towards showing that they may still be interested in linebacker Manti Te’o by attending the Notre Dame pro day today. Te’o, who was interviewed at the NFL Combine by the Bengals (one of 20 teams), improved on his combine results by posting an official 4.71 second 40-yard dash time at the pro day attended by 26 NFL teams today. This is one tenth of a second improvement on his combine dash time which moves him into a position where he can be considered more seriously as a decent three down, first round linebacker. Even if the Bengals are still indeed looking to strengthen their defensive line, Te’o can be seen once more as a realistic option.
Elsewhere at the ND pro day, Senior Editor for Pro Football Weekly Eric Edholm reported that the Bengals tight end coach Jonathan Hayes was in attendance, running blocking drills with some ND draft prospects, including first round possibility, tight end Tyler Eifert. This leads to a new draft question: Will the Bengals draft a tight end in the first round for the second time in four years? Well, the answer is almost definitely not.
The Bengals could always go with another first-round caliber tight end. Someone to complement Jermaine Gresham would work wonders if the Bengals decided to implement a two tight end passing system like they have with the New England Patriots. This could also be a good option for the Bengals to move towards, instead of looking at a new wide receiver who could possibly be a bust when Mohamed Sanu and Andrew Hawkins could still be future break out stars. The fact of the matter remains, however, that the Bengals have some bigger needs to fill in the draft so although it is a possibility, a first round tight end seems unlikely.
So the question remains, were the Bengals in South Bend, Indiana to genuinely get a closer look at Te’o or even Eifert, or are they just kicking some tires in the hope that someone might trade up to their spot?
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88