When Jay Gruden came to the Bengals in 2011 he already had a solid tight end in Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012. But Gruden didn’t mind it a year ago when the Bengals drafted tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round. Eifert and Gresham combined to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in 2013.
There are many who think that Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has Pro Bowl potential after a promising rookie year. Could Gruden push to add another tight end into the mix via the draft in hopes of duplicating the two-TE production he got in Cincinnati?
He could, be it won’t be easy. The Redskins don’t have a first-round pick so they will not have a shot at Eric Ebron out of North Carolina, the consensus top tight end in the draft. He should go in the top half of the first round, if not the top 10.
Beyond that you have question marks surrounding the tight ends who might go in the second or third rounds, the area where you might expect to find someone who could contribute immediately. Jace Amaro of Texas Tech has blocking liabilities. Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington has had some off-field issues including a single-car accident that resulted in the DUI conviction. Troy Niklas who replaced Eifert at Notre Dame, is still very much a work in progress as a receiver.
The other issue is that a second tight end when Reed is in place could be considered to be a luxury that the Redskins, with holes all over the place, just can’t afford. If there is a lineman on either side of the ball or a defensive back who is on the board who is equal in talent to a given tight end, it’s hard to argue that the tight end could have the most value as a pick.
But, then again, Reed did have his 2013 season cut short with a concussion and there has be some doubt about his ability to play 16 games. Perhaps some depth is called for.
What it may come down to is a situation similar to what Mike Shanahan and the Redskins faced last year. They really didn’t plan on drafting a tight end but when Jordan was still on the board in the third round they decided that his talent was too good to pass up.
Gruden, Bruce Allen and company could find themselves in a similar situation,, particularly if Amaro is still hanging around in the third round.