I like this Cincinnati Bengals draft a lot.
If the Wake Forest safety is as advertised, they got everything they needed most.
An elite center.
A play-making safety.
An athletic linebacker and a pass rusher.
A young quarterback with upside to develop.
You can never have enough corners.
Whatever else rises to the top from the last day is gravy…
Of course it started with taking Billy Price out of Ohio State on Thursday night.
He’s already impressing the Queen City media, which comes as no surprise.
I wasn’t familiar with Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates until the Bengals drafted him, so I’ll have to do some more digging on him, but I’ve been wanting them to find a play-making safety for many years. Scouting reports indicate he is just that.
Third-round pick Sam Hubbard checks off all the boxes on and off the field.
The Moeller-to-Ohio State-to-Cincinnati career arc is very cool, he’s a good locker room guy and leader — but most importantly, he can rush the passer.
I believe he’s athletic enough to do more than just that playing on the edge, so along with Carl Lawson there are some interesting pieces for potential sub-packages for new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson is a great value in the third round: Great physical ability but doesn’t always put it to the best use. The Bengals have had success coaching up guys like this, and getting him here is similar to Michael Johnson slipping to them in 2009.
Miami running back Mark Walton was a luxury pick, but I like those a lot better in the fourth round than the first. It never hurts to have an extra running back because those guys get dinged up a lot.
I really felt they needed to get out of the draft with a quarterback to groom, and they did that with Toledo’s Logan Woodside in the seventh round. Woodside is regarded as smart and accurate, the two things you want most in a quarterback, and his production in the MAC was outstanding.
I don’t mind the Bengals not taking an offensive tackle in the second half of the draft.
The offensive line isn’t all the way back just with the additions of Price and Cordy Glenn, but after the third or fourth round I don’t think it’s very likely they would’ve found anyone who was significantly better physically than the guys they have now.
In that case, I am willing to wait and see what the new offense of line coach can do with the holdovers from last year.
It’s hard to turn the roster over completely in one year, but the picture changes drastically if you have at least one good tackle and center goes from a weakness to a strength. Then if the other three guys are just serviceable, your offensive line probably is going to be a lot better overall I bet.
To sum things up, my ideal draft sees you able to take a player with elite talent and production who is also a need in the first round.
In the second and third rounds, you hope to get all three of those, but if you can only get two, that’s OK.
After that it becomes more of a crapshoot. Most of those guys are going to be added depth at best, but it never hurts to take a flier on someone who could turn into more.
In that case, what position they play doesn’t make as much difference. If you’re counting on a bunch of late-round draft picks, you’re probably not gonna be very good.
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