Even though the Chicago Bears dramatically increased the skill level at the tight end position since free agency started last month, should the organization still consider selecting one in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft?
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Bears tight ends ranked 28th in the league in YAC per reception (3.4), 30th in targets (66) and dead last in receptions (33) and drop percentage (15.2) in 2012.
Considering Chicago signed former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett to a four-year deal, as well as, Steve Maneri to a two-year contract, one would think the tight end position is taken care of. However, no one else believes that to be the case.
Several mock drafts have the Bears taking either Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert or Stanford tight end Zach Ertz with the 20th overall pick in the draft. Most people would say Chicago is crazy for even considering using their first round selection on a player who plays a position that has already been dealt with in free agency. On the contrary, since the Bears got absolutely zero production out of a prominent offensive position, there appears to be no harm in stocking up.
Some of the most successful teams in the NFL last season got tremendous production out of the tight end position. In fact, five of the top 10 statistical tight ends from 2012 suited up for a team that clinched a playoff berth.
It is no secret that utilizing the tight end position correctly has given numerous teams overwhelming success. The New England Patriots have used two tight ends to rack up touchdowns, while the Atlanta Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez posted the second best overall numbers in the league at the position. Even the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens used Dennis Pitta when it mattered most, as the tight end hauled in the most touchdowns (3) in the postseason.
The Bears realize they have a solid quarterback in Jay Cutler and a deep threat in wide receiver Brandon Marshall. If they can somehow improve their mid-range passing game, it will open up several opportunities for Marshall.
Taking either Eifert or Ertz in the first round would be far from a mistake considering both players would instantly upgrade Chicago’s passing offense.