June 19, 2024

During the 2024 NFL Draft, I predicted that the Bengals would select players in the first and second rounds to address the needs that will arise from the impending free agency market. Cincinnati, an exceptional team, will see significant cap casualties over the next several seasons due to the impending doomsday clock of great quarterback Joe Burrow’s enormous contract becoming cap-critical. Getting lucky on the second and third days of the NFL Draft is, without a doubt, the best method to keep your roster full with elite players.

Every time I discuss the NFL Draft or free agency, I like to preface my remarks with this: roster choices are typically reactionary in nature, making projections increasingly challenging as time goes on. Unpredictable decisions cause drift to increase as the draft progresses. Should Cincinnati get to the third round and a top-tier wide receiver remain unclaimed, expectations ought to be set aside as the organization makes the optimal choice at that precise moment.

Marvin Lewis out as Bengals coach after 16 seasons

Cincinnati has left a huge hole since the 2021 draft, and while my projections for the first two rounds were predicated on cap casualties, the third round will fill it. Although the offense is thought to be among the best in the NFL, Cincinnati hasn’t had a tight end of the highest caliber since Tyler Eifert’s outstanding performance in 2015. C.J. Uzomah was a reliable role player, but given that Cincinnati has invested heavily on wide receivers, he was only average at best. Receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd could be leaving, so this summer that could need to change.

Stover is a great addition to the club since he gives the tight end position some much-needed athleticism. During his tenure with the Buckeyes, Stover proved to be an effective red zone target and possession receiver. He finished the 2017 season with five touchdowns, and his quarterbacks had an astounding quarterback rating of 138.2 when they targeted the huge tight end.

Stover would also assist Cincinnati in covering for any hole that Higgins’s departure might create. The largest receiver Cincinnati had, Higgins was a great target for Burrow in the red zone. Stover would be a great target to sit on the goal line and showcase the Cincinnati quarterback’s amazing accuracy. Irv Smith, who signed a one-year contract and had a really underwhelming season in Cincinnati, will be replaced by Stover.

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