Knight moves: Ex-Bengal Battaglia loves selection of Tyler Kroft

Tyler Kroft has followed the path of another former Rutgers tight end, but Bengals fans are hoping he has a better career than Marco Battaglia.

Gary Landers/AP

When the Bengals selected tight end Marco Battaglia in the second round in 1996, it marked the earliest draft position for a Rutgers player at the time. 

Now as the director of development for athletics at his alma mater, Battaglia is pleased to see the Bengals keep the pipeline of Scarlet Knights open to Cincinnati with this year’s third-round selection of tight end Tyler Kroft. 

Kroft joins Mohamed Sanu (2012) and Brian Leonard (2009) as Rutgers alums drafted by the Bengals. 

"The Bengals have been getting Rutgers players the last couple of years," Battaglia told the team’s official site. "They’re a highly-motivated, lunch-pail kind of guy and that’s what Tyler is. He’s going to a very, very, very good player for you guys."

Kroft has a chance to play right away alongside starter Tyler Eifert, who is coming back from offseason surgery on his elbow and shoulder. The Bengals have said that Kroft was their top-rated tight end coming into the draft. 

"He was our guy on the board," said Bengals tight ends coach Jon Hayes. "I liked the fact that out of all of them, he was the most able to do both (catch and block). "That’s what I like about him. He’s got to get bigger and stronger.But he’s a hard worker. He works at it. He really loves football. With a guy like that, it gives you a puncher’s chance.”

Battaglia thinks excited to see what Kroft will do in the same uniform he once wore. 

"Tyler’s a quiet kid. He doesn’t say much. He’s not like me. But don’t let that fool you,” Battaglia said. "He’s a very talented kid. He’s going to be an asset to the program."