The Cincinnati Bengals signed former Cleveland Browns tight end Alex Smith to their roster yesterday, adding depth at the tight end position and allowing for a lot of flexibility for tight end Orson Charles to switch between blocking on the line and blocking at fullback. As an extremely athletic player who makes for a great blocker in the run game, the new flexibility with Charles could be of great help for the poor Cincinnati run game.
However, the big issue with this particular signing hangs in the first-round draft pick.
The Bengals’ 21st pick in this years’ NFL Draft has been subject to wide (and often angry) speculation as to who will be chosen. One of the fan favorites for the pick has been the rumor that they will draft Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert hoping to add another top pass-catching tight end to compliment 2010 21st draft pick Jermaine Gresham.
Along with this rumor has been the idea that the Bengals would then be able to switch to a two-TE offensive scheme, similar to the one the New England Patriots have been able to successfully implement over the last few seasons.
With the addition of Smith to the tight end roster, it raises doubts that the Bengals are going to use their first-round pick on the likes of Eifert. The Bengals have bigger needs in other areas, and this shows that they are probably (but not definitely) going to save their high draft picks for those, even though they will still be putting tight ends to good use next season.
Look for the Bengals to move away from picking a tight end in round one of the draft, instead focusing on bolstering their defensive secondary with the likes of strong safety Matt Elam.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88