A breakdown of the Bengals' tight end room
The tight end room has a lineup of solid blockers including C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample, and Cethan Carter, which bodes well for Joe Mixon and the running game.
With Tyler Eifert’s departure, Sample is expected to have a bigger role in the passing game. If that doesn’t workout, they have other options.
The Bengals could use more four receiver sets with 11 personnel or five wide receiver sets to make up for the loss of Eifert.
Let’s take a look at the tight end group.
CJ Uzomah – 6’6”, 260 pounds
The former fifth-round pick enters the season as the Bengals’ top tight end.
Uzomah is a reliable run blocker that complemented Eifert’s pass-catching abilities. His numbers aren’t strong, but he has consistently done the gritty work on offense and special teams.
Accounting for 84% of the offensive snaps during the 2018 season, Uzomah started fifteen games, hauling in 43 catches for 439 yards. His blocking ability helped Joe Mixon win the AFC rushing title.
Uzomah signed a three-year, $18 million extension before the 2019 season. He started all sixteen games last season and played a key role in the turnaround of the running game in the second half of the season.
The Bengals are hoping for a repeat performance of the past two seasons as a blocker. They also think he can be a bigger contributor in the passing game.
Drew Sample – 6’4”, 258 pounds
After a disappointing rookie season, Sample is ready to prove why the Bengals selected him with the 52 pick in the 2019 Draft.
He was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle-sprain in December after only appearing in nine games as a rookie.
Sample claims he was starting to adjust to life in the NFL before his injury. He had five receptions for 30 yards. He only played 9.81% of the Bengals offensive snaps.
Touted as the best blocking tight end in his draft class, Sample will see the field in two tight end sets opposite of Uzomah. He should push for playing time on passing downs too.
Despite being praised for his blocking abilities, the Bengals were impressed with his ability to catch the ball. His pass-catching skills weren’t showcased frequently at Washington. He finished his senior season with 25 receptions and 252 receiving yards.
Cethan Carter – 6’3”, 248 pounds
The 2017 undrafted free agent has made a home for himself by thriving on Darrin Simmons’ special teams unit.
Carter was on the field for 68% of the Bengals special teams snaps last season. He also led the group with seven tackles.
The team resigned Carter to a one-year deal this offseason.
With Eifert’s departure, Carter may get more time on offense, but special teams success will still determine his value.
Rest of the Room:
Mason Schreck – 6’5”, 252 pounds
Knee injuries have plagued Schreck’s career since he was drafted by the Bengals in the seventh-round of the 2017 Draft.
As a rookie, Schreck tore his ACL in the preseason and played in six of seven games in 2018 before tearing his ACL again.
Schreck was waived after last preseason and re-signed to the practice squad before moving to the Bengals’ 53-man roster in the last month of the season. He’s been active for eight games in his three-year career.
He brings size, athleticism, and special teams value to the team. He’ll have to fight for a roster spot. If Schreck doesn’t make the 53-man roster, he still has practice squad eligibility.
Jordan Franks – 6’4”, 240 pounds
Franks has jumped back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
Franks played in six games as a rookie, as three of the Bengals tight ends went down with injuries. He caught two passes for 37 yards.
He was on the practice squad for the entire 2019 season.
Franks needs to show his value on special teams this season if he wants to make the 53-man roster. If he doesn’t, he could spend another season on the practice squad.
Moritz Böhringer – 6’5”, 250 pounds
Böhringer joined the Bengals as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program in 2018. The program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level.
Minnesota drafted Böhringer in the sixth round of the 2013 draft making him the first-ever player drafted to the NFL directly from Europe.
Böhringer has spent his two seasons in Cincinnati on the practice squad. He could end up there again this season.
Mitchell Wilcox – 6’4”, 247 pounds
The team snagged the most prolific tight end in University Southern Florida history as an undrafted free agent in April. Wilcox is USF’s all-time leader in career receptions (100) and receiving yards (1,326) by a tight end.
He’s an above average route runner, with high-end body control and he possesses the ability to make a catch in traffic. Some are concerned with his lack of athleticism.
Wilcox will likely battle Schreck and Böhringer for a spot on the practice squad.