Cincinnati Bengals Won’t Have To Look Far for a Draftable Tight End With High Upside

With no tight ends under contract, the Cincinnati Bengals will be looking everywhere for answers, and one of them could be right in their backyard.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Cincinnati Bengals do not have any tight ends under contract for the 2024 season, although that is expected to change before the new league year begins.

If you were to rank the team’s 16 free agents in terms of likelihood of returning, Tanner Hudson would be at the top of the list, and Drew Sample wouldn’t be far behind.

But reinforcements obviously are needed for a team that hasn’t drafted a tight end since taking Sample in the second round in 2019.

Cincinnati Bengals’ Next Tight End Could Be Homegrown

Drafting one this year feels like a lock, but it did last year as well and didn’t happen.

Expect the Bengals also to explore options in free agency, both in terms of veterans in the coming weeks and rookies that go undrafted next month.

They won’t have to look far at all to find one possible developmental fit. Erick All grew up 30 minutes from Paycor Stadium in Fairfield, Ohio.

The 6’4″, 200-pound All is at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis meeting with teams, including the Bengals.

“It was great,” All said of his meeting with Cincinnati coaches and front office personnel. “We talked about a lot of different things, just getting to know ’em as people. It seemed great.”

But All won’t be working out as he’s still recovering from a right knee injury that ended his season at Iowa in mid-October.

“Everything’s going great,” All said when asked about his rehab.” I feel fine. Anything you can think of to do on my knee right now, I can do. I feel great. I’m just ready to get after it.”

He’s hopeful he can work out for teams at Iowa’s Pro Day on March 18.

A former Fairfield High School teammate of Bengals offensive lineman Jackson Carman, All was a four-star recruit who began his college career at Michigan, playing in all 11 games as a true freshman in 2019.

After graduating from Michigan, he transferred to Iowa in 2023 and caught 21 passes for 299 yards for one of the most offensively challenged teams in the country before suffering the knee injury.

Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings has All just outside the top 10 of his tight end rankings, while many projections have All going between Rounds 5-7.

The local product could go undrafted due to his knee rehab. That scenario would create the option for him to pick and choose where he wants to play as an undrafted free agent — and staying close to home to play for a team short on tight ends and a pass-friendly offense directed by Joe Burrow could be a good fit for All.

He had a year of eligibility remaining but decided to declare for the draft.

“Honestly, I just felt like it was my time,” he said of his decision. “I felt like I put a lot of great things on film. I just really was ready to make the next step for me and my family, to get out there and show the world what I can do.

Asked what he thinks he could bring to the NFL, All said:

“I feel like I’m versatile,” he said. “One play I can be lined up as a fullback and hit the MIKE, and the next I can be out in the slot catching the ball downfield and high-pointing it. I just feel like I can do whatever a coach asks me to do. Fullback, slot, off the ball. Pulling. Line me up out wide and run a deep route.”

KEEP READING: Cincinnati Bengals Free Agency — Which Tight Ends Could Be Fits?

Aside from not having an elite tight end, one of the biggest criticisms of the ones the Bengals had last year was that they were too specialized. Finding a well-rounded tight end like All could pay off for just a small investment of a Day 3 pick.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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