3 teams who are definitely sad they didn't get Sam LaPorta in the 2023 NFL Draft

After a record-setting rookie season, these three teams are definitely the most sad they didn't get Lions tight end Sam LaPorta in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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1. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow's health issues over the course of this season aside, imagine if the Bengals had a top-end tight end to go with their other skill position pieces? Their free agency flier on Irv Smith Jr. didn't work out, and with all due respect Tanner Hudson and Drew Sample are ordinary players.

With their first-round pick last April, No. 28 overall, Cincinnati took Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy. He played all 17 games, but just 28 percent of the defensive snaps as he had 20 total tackles and three sacks. A defense that had its struggles certainly could have used more impact from a first-round pick edge rusher, though that lack of playing time has to be noted.

LaPorta joining Ja'Marr Chase as a top target for Burrow in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future would be interesting. The Bengals can't be blamed for wanting to add a young piece to their defense in the first-round, as with Jacksonville trading up from No. 60 overall in the second round might not have been considered or even regarded as viable.

After the draft, on the Bleav in Bengals podcast, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor talked about coveting LaPorta.

"There were certainly some tight ends that we had some regard for. They got picked off pretty (quickly). Those first two, we really liked and they went with the 26th pick probably and 35th pick, I think, to Detroit, ”Those were two really good players that I think would have really helped us, but, again, we’re happy to not reach, because we felt good about the group that we had.”

But the Bengals did miss on one clear opportunity to add LaPorta to an offense that is as dangerous as it gets in the league when at full strength, even it would surely have been perceived as a stretch to take him in the first round at that time. Some mock drafts along the way had them taking Kincaid, who went three picks before them in reality. Until they add a tight end of LaPorta's ilk, or close to it, passing on him will be regrettable for Cincinnati and a missing piece in their offense.


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