The one spot on offense the Bengals needed to get their bat on the ball was tight ends and from the looks of things at Saturday's two rookie minicamp practices they've covered themselves.
What they need is a guy who can give them a little something opposite receiving tight end Tyler Eifert, preferably as a blocker, because virtually anything will be better from a second tight end than last season.
Suddenly, they've got an interesting corps of big young guys at tight end that should be able to get them through better than last year after they attacked the problem pretty aggressively in more ways than one.
For the first time in 30 years they drafted two tight ends in the same draft and they went after big bodies. Once the 6-6 draft picks were joined by an undrafted 6-8 tight end, Eastern Kentucky's Matt Lengel, the Bengals seem to have their pick of guys that can help Eifert block. And they saw enough in a tryout of another 6-8 free agent, John Peters out of Mount St. Joseph , that they may sign him to the roster after Sunday's practice.
Where did they all come from?
"I like what I see there. I think we've got something to work with there,' said offensive coordinator Hue Jackson after Saturday's work. "They're big guys that can run. I like their athleticism and you have to like the fact they're big."
Third-rounder Tyler Kroft out of Rutgers has run his routes smoothly and the fifth-rounder, C.J. Uzomah out of Auburn, has opened up some eyes with his speed. At 6-6, 265 pounds and 4.6-second 40-yard dash Uzomah is an intriguing double-threat guy because he's big enough to get a body on you.
But the biggest surprise at the position may be Jake Murphy, a practice squad player from last season out of Utah. His experience and excellent hands are showing up.
Whatever happens, it looks like they can get more out of this spot than last year, keep Ryan Hewitt at fullback, and maybe keep three tight ends. But that would put Hewitt with the backs, where they traditionally only keep four and that would be a squeeze. But if they get to that, finding two guys that can play tight end instead of Hewitt that should make them much better at tight end.
PRYOR TO PRACTICE: This is one of the reasons why it looks like there's a pretty good chance the Bengals are going to sign former Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the next 24 hours:
After Friday night's meetings closed up the first day of rookie minicamp, Pryor could be found in the multi-purpose room at roughly 10:45 p.m. working on his throwing motion. Working on an exercise designed by the Dr. Tom House quarterback camp, Pryor slowly and deliberately threw a baseball into a padded wall, but finishing his throw with a sudden flick that whipped the rebound back to him on the ground.
"People think arm strength is your accelerator of de-accelerator in the back of your shoulder, or you get it from lifting," Pryor said. "It's all about arm speed. Flicking it. That's what I was working on. My arm speed. A baseball just teaches it and then when you get the football, you just flick it."
Pryor is working on keeping his shoulders level (maybe the front shoulder is slightly raised), which helps his release point.
"No matter whether you're throwing it 30 yards down field or (shorter), the arm is really at about eye level,' he said.
It sounds like the Bengals are leaning to signing him after Sunday's practice, but Pryor is going to keep chucking.
"I think it was real solid," he said of his three practices.
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Free agent wide receiver Jake Kumerow left the Saturday afternoon practice with what is feared to be a broken ring finger…Fourth-round cornerback Josh Shaw left early in the afternoon with a leg cramp, but he hopes to return Sunday morning….