Its that time of year again folks. The time where teams are scrambling to finalize their draft boards and complete their final preparations for the draft. Since these teams are putting in the work that they undoubtedly are, it seems only right that we try to out-do them.
Today we will be taking a long look at the Cincinnati Bengals depth chart to see if we can’t pin point their 3 most urgent needs heading into this year’s draft. So, without further ado, lets get into it!
Bengals 2016 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs
A lot of people are going to look at this and say I’m crazy for not writing that wide receiver is the Bengals number one need. But with the loss of Andre Smith, their starting right tackle, it is clear that this is their most urgent need. Their best tackle is, without question, Andrew Whitworth but he is now 34 and they have no one to play across from him. Considering their draft position and the organization’s tendency to stand pat and pick at their given position, I would look for the Bengals to address this need in the second round.
Their current position in each round is the 24 spot and the team was not awarded any compensatory picks. Look for the Bengals to draft multiple players at this position. They could give Jerald Hawkins or Shon Coleman a look in the second round. They are both mammoth individuals that will fill in nicely for the recently departed Smith. They both could also serve as the long term replacement for Whitworth who, most likely, will retire within the next two years. I think considering their overwhelming need at this position they come around in third round and draft a guy like John Theus or Avery Young, who both have good size and provide needed depth at the position. All the wide receivers in the world won’t help you if you can’t keep your quarterback upright.
At the start of free agency there were really just two important free agents for the Bengals. They were wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Their hopes were to get at least one them under contract. Those hopes turned out to be futile when they lost Jones to the Lions on day one of free agency and then Sanu on day two. The Bengals did add Brandon Lafell from the Patriots but considering the season he is coming off of, the addition is nothing to get too excited over.
This is the direction that I see the Bengals going in the first round of this year’s draft. As noted above, they will be drafting in the 24 spot in each round (except for the 5th round, 22nd) and considering that, there likely wouldn’t be any top offensive tackles left in the first round and I think that wide receivers will be higher on their draft board. That said, look for the Bengals to draft Will Fuller or Corey Coleman. They both possess a good combination of size and speed (more so in Will Fuller’s case) as well as scheme versatility. Both would fit in well with what the Bengals are trying to do. Another option for the Bengals, given that he is still on the board at this point in the first round, is Josh Doctson. Most have him going earlier in the draft based on his upside but if he were to fall to the Bengals, he could be a dangerous addition to that already potent offense.
This position got most of the attention going into the off-season because it was expected that the team would be able to fill the other needs through free agency and the re-signing of their own players. Those plans went out the window but the problem of the aging corner backs remain. The Bengals went ahead and re-signed corner back Adam “Pac Man” Jones but with Leon Hall still an unrestricted free agent, it is clear that the team plans on adding to this position through this years draft.
I do expect them to another corner or two before the season starts, whether it be before the draft or after in the form of an undrafted free agent. They just possess the amount of picks to fill all of their needs. The only way is for them to trade down and collect more picks but historically, that is not the Bengals M.O. I would look for the Bengals to draft a guy like KeiVarae Russell or Deiondre’ Hall in the forth round.
I just don’t see them waiting until later than the forth round because of the importance of the position in today’s NFL. If, by chance, they were to wait longer in the draft to fill their cornerback void, they could look to Will Redmond or Rashad Robinson in the later rounds.