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Jermaine Gresham: The Good, The Bad, and The Verdict

As expected, there were a number of intriguing prospects on the board when the Bengals came up at No. 21. The four hottest mock draft choices for the team (Taylor Mays, Dez Bryant, Sergio Kindle and Jermaine Gresham) were all on the board, but the Bengals went after their biggest need with Gresham, the 6-foot-5, 261-pound tight end out of Oklahoma.   The Bengals haven’t had a good pass catching tight end since before many of our readers were watching football and the team hopes Gresham gives them the presence they had in the Dan Ross or Rodney Holman days of the 80s and early 90s. Since that time, the top receiving tight ends the Bengals have had are Tony McGee and Matt Schobel whose top receiving years with the team were 55 catches and 27 catches respectively.  Gresham brings that receiving threat and the toughness of someone who inadvertently ran over tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes (who stands about 6-foot-5, 250 lbs) during drills at Oklahoma’s Pro Day.  

Here’s the skinny on Gresham:  

The Good

  •  A big, quick, powerful tight end who doesn’t take plays off
  • Surprisingly agile for his size; able to adjust to balls thrown off-target or behind him
  • Uses his body well to generate separation in space or shield defenders on jump balls
  • Superior leaping ability (35-inch vertical)
  • Tough to tackle: drags defenders and always falls forward for extra yards
  •  Averaged more than 14 yards per catch and had one touchdown for every 4.3 catches at Oklahoma  

The Bad

  • Regardless of the injuries, missing two seasons in six years is always a concern, especially with the way injuries happen to high-profile Bengals draft picks
  • Just a serviceable blocker, though he is an upgrade over Coffman or Coats
  • Though always working hard, he’s known to have occasional mental lapses
  • The position was also a high pick (third round) last year  

The Verdict He was the BengalsGab selection in the GridironGab’s mock draft as well as many other mocks, so hearing his name does not come as a surprise.  Having someone with his size, athleticism and playmaking ability in the middle of the field should really take some heat off Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant on the outside. Gresham may be the last ingredient to making this offense take off, but imagine if Chase Coffman gets up to speed, as well. You will see a lineup with Benson in the backfield, Coffman at h-back/tight end, Gresham at tight end, and the Ocho-Bryant duo on the outside. How effective would that be in running, passing and play action?  

Gresham is not the sexy pick, but he was the player in this draft who could biggest impact on the team THIS YEAR. The Bengals know that their window for success will not be open forever. What do you do in that situation?  You find what’s holding you back and try to eliminate it as a weakness. The tight end position crippled offensive production last year and Cincinnati has eliminated that problem by picking Gresham.

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