The Bengals are clearly a WR-centric offense.
They play 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) more than any team in the league.
Joe Burrow threw 594 passes last season. Here is the breakdown by targets/percentage:
WR: 369 (62.1%)
RB: 133 (22.4%)
TE: 92 (15.5%)
Catches last season: 238 WR, 103 RB, 73 TE
Yes, this was a TE heavy draft, with more depth than most years. But the Bengals clearly don't prioritize TE like some fans do.
I believe the Bengals certainly had their eyes on the position. But the match/fit never came and they were not willing to deviate from their draft board to take a player with lesser value.
Remember, just one TE went in the 1st round, Dalton Kinkaid (25th overall, Bills).
Last night on Sports Talk, Lap mentioned the Bengals interest in Sam Laporta (Iowa). But he wasn't worth the 28th pick and he was gone by the 60th pick. He fell into the proverbial no man's land of drafting.
Laporta was taken No. 34 (Lions) and Michael Mayer No. 35 (Raiders). The Bengals were still 25 picks away at that point. They weren't going to trade up and reach.
Luke Musgrave went No. 42 (Packers) and Luke Schoonmaker No. 58 (Cowboys). At No. 60, the Bengals happily pounced on CB DJ Turner, the fastest corner in the draft, a premium position.
Right after the Bengals traded Pick 92 of the 3rd round, Darnell Washington went to the Steelers at Pick 93. He's an inline TE, lining up in the slot just 14% of the time last year. He's also dealt with a knee issue. There just wasn't value for the Bengals. Not for a blocking TE at No. 93. Not when safety Jordan Battle was still on the board AND when they could add an extra pick in the trade and eventually get punter Brad Robbins at No. 217.
They got a four-year starting safety at Alabama and a quality punter, rather than a blocking TE. Works for me.
The draft didn't fall their way to select a TE. It happens.
Does it feel like Joe Burrow will be crippled by that? With one of the best 3 WR trios in the league?
Why reach and deviate from your board for a position your QB targeted 15.5% of the time he threw it last season?
The current TE group includes: Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, Devin Asiasi. I would not be surprised if the resigned Mitchell Wilcox, or combed the waiver wire during training camp.
I'm good handing that group to Burrow and watching him elevate them.
How about you?