To get an idea of what the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2017 NFL Draft could look like, at least, in the early rounds, I took advantage of a resource introduced to me by a friend, that has become an awesome tool for my articles and writing. More on that after I address the team needs for the Bengals.
First, before we get to drafting, let’s take a look at what I think the Cincinnati Bengals team needs are coming into the 2017 NFL Draft.
Here’s how I rank the team needs, though they’re definitely up for debate, depending on the performance of player’s already on the roster.
1) Line Backers (outside and inside both)
One really big need that the Bengals could end up addressing early on in the draft is the spot at outside line backer. With a solid defense around the linebacker core, and Ray Maualaga leaving the team in Free Agency, the Bengals will be looking for someone to come in and make an immediate impact sharing time with newly signed linebacker Kevin Minter and Vontaze Burfict. Added depth would be a nice find in a fairly-deep class.
2) Edge Rusher, Defensive End
I think that if the Bengals can draft an Elite edge rusher to put opposite Carlos Dunlap, it could improve the team greatly as a whole, and possibly throw them into having a decent shot at a playoff spot in the upcoming season. This shouldn’t be too hard to find in one of the deepst classes (as far as pass rushers go) in recent years. The Bengals may even decide to wait until a later round to address this need, as there will be a lot of talent left available.
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3) Offensive Line
With Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler leaving the team as more causalities to Free Agency, the Bengals will need to look to come into the draft looking for depth, and talent to throw into the trenches. To me, they could address this issue as far up as the first round, should the right player be available. This class of linemen isn’t as deep as some classes have been recently, but without a doubt, the talent to improve the team is still there. You just have to find it, and isn’t that just the hardest part?
FanSpeak.com has an NFL Draft simulator that lets you take control of the Draft picks for an NFL team of your choosing, and try your hand at the drafting process. It gives you a full list of players, with rankings that you can choose from, with the draft being simulated using team needs that have been voted on by previous users of the site.
I ran through a simulated draft using the site that I mentioned above, deciding to do a three-round draft, and here’s the results:
So as you can see we were definitely looking to fill some holes here. Here’s a breakdown of the selections I made, and why I think they would have a highly positive impact for this Cincinnati Bengals team this year, and in the coming years.
1st Round, Pick 9 – Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama.
If I’m announcing the Bengals’ pick for this round of the draft, I’m sprinting to the podium, knowing that I got (arguably) the most versatile and productive defensive lineman in the draft, super excitedly. This pick would be a great one for the Bengals in the terms of someone coming in and immediately making an impact. Barring a few possible, but unlikely, situations, I don’t see how the Bengals could pass up on Allen to strengthen their pass rush, and fill one of their biggest team needs.
2nd Round, Pick 9 – Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma.
I probably have some explaining to do with this one. Yes, I know I didn’t list running back as one of the Bengals’ highest needs going into this draft. Yes, I know there are much bigger needs than this. That being said? I think if Joe Mixon is there at this point in the draft, the Bengals will take him. Mixon is someone that can come into this Cincinnati offense, and immediately add another weapon. Though it may not end up like this, don’t count out the Bengals looking hard at a running back option in rounds two and three.
3rd Round, Pick 9 – Ethan Pocic, Offensive Lineman, Louisiana State University
Despite a relatively weak offensive lineman class coming into the NFL Draft this year, the Bengals don’t have the luxury of other teams to just wait around while looking to add depth to certain elements of their squad. Pocic is a versatile blocker with a good amount of experience under his belt during his time in the SEC, and if drafted, should be an instant starter to try to bolster the Bengals’ offensive line, and protect Andy Dalton.
Though this mock draft may not end up being completely true, look for these three positions to be of utmost importance for the Bengals coming into the draft this weekend. I definitely think that these are likely guys to be scooped up to shore up some team needs, especially if the Bengals are fortunate enough to have them still available when it comes time to turn in the Draft sheet.
Questions or comments? Let me know below, and tune in tonight and through the weekend to keep up to date with all of the latest happenings in the NFL Draft.