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Bengals sign rookie TE Kroft


The Sports Xchange

The Cincinnati Bengals signed tight end Tyler Kroft, their third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, to a four-year contract on Thursday.

Kroft started 24 of 37 games in three seasons at Rutgers and led the team in catches in 2013 as junior with 43 and in receiving yards with 573.

“We graded Tyler as the best of the tight end prospects in this draft,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “He has a great upside both as a blocker and a receiver. It was really a blessing in disguise for him that Rutgers went to pounding the ball on the ground last year.

“He had to put his hand in the dirt and work that physical game, and that helped him in the eyes of people evaluating him, because we don’t get to see that that much anymore with tight ends in college football.”

The tight end position is still undefined for the Bengals. Jermaine Gresham remains unsigned as a free agent and Tyler Eifert is recovering from shoulder and elbow injuries suffered last season.

Kroft is the eighth of Cincinnati’s nine 2015 draft choices to sign a contract. He joins offensive tackle Jake Fisher of Oregon (second round), linebacker P.J. Dawson of TCU (third), cornerback Josh Shaw of Southern California (fourth), defensive tackle Marcus Hardison of Arizona State (fourth), tight end C.J. Uzomah of Auburn (fifth), safety Derron Smith of Fresno State (sixth) and wide receiver Mario Alford of West Virginia (seventh).

Still unsigned is offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, the Bengals’ first-round pick.

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