The Cincinnati Bengals currently are positioned to pick 10th in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they could wind up anywhere between sixth and 12th depending on the outcome of the Week 17 games.
Through Jan. 1 we’ll take a look at the top draft prospects who are playing in that day’s bowl games, players the Bengals could target in the first three rounds.
Today’s slate of bowl games includes:
Belk Bowl, Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5), 1 p.m.
Sun Bowl, N.C. State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5), 3 p.m.
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Music City Bowl, Kentucky (7-5) vs. Northwestern (9-3), 4:30 p.m.
Arizona Bowl, New Mexico State (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6), 5:30 p.m.
Cotton Bowl, USC (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-2), 8:30 p.m.
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Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky, 6-5, 230 (junior)
Terrific edge rusher in college, but he’ll need to improve size, technique.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State, 6-2, 227
Size is deceiving as he’s more of a quick-footed back than a bruiser.
Jerome Baker, ILB, Ohio State, 6-1, 225
The defensive coordinator who lands Baker will have lots of choices on how to use him.
Dante Booker, OLB, Ohio State, 6-3, 233
He’s never played a full season for the Buckeyes but could be a second-day pick.
Deontay Burnett, WR, USC, 6-0, 170 (junior)
Locked behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson earlier in this career, Burnett has emerged as a star in 2017.
Bradley Chubb, OLB, N.C. State, 6-3, 273
Likely to be a Top 10 pick and immediate starter in the NFL.
Sam Darnold, QB, USC, 6-4, 225 (sophomore)
Could be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft … if he elects to come out.
Duke Ejiofor, DL, Wake Forest, 6-4, 270
Might be a better fit at linebacker due to his lack of size.
Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State, 6-4, 205 (junior)
He doesn’t get the attention of some of the other quarterbacks available, but there is a lot to like about the 23-year-old.
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State, 6-5, 266
Could the Bengals take him on the second day and keep the Cincinnati native (Moeller) in Ohio?
Godwin Igwebulke, S, Northwestern, 6-0, 200
A solid tackler but still needs work in the pass game and could slide to Day 3.
Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State, 6-3, 295 (sophomore)
A bit unsung on the impressive OSU defensive line, but Jones has a lot of upside.
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State, 6-5, 310
With impressive athleticism for his size, Jones could slide into the first round with a solid Combine performance.
Ronald Jones, RB, USC, 6-1, 195 (junior)
Tough and quick, Jones projects as a mid-first rounder, which probably doesn’t make him a fit for the Bengals.
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M, 5-11, 201 (junior)
Elite speed should make him a first-round pick, along with his dynamic ability as a returner.
Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State, 6-3, 260
A little stiff for an end, Lewis still collected 6.5 sacks in his rotation with Hubbard and Nick Bosa.
Uchenna Nwosu, OLB, USC, 6-3, 235
He can rush off the edge (7.5 sacks) or drop into coverage (one interception, 13 passes defended).
Billy Price, C/G, Ohio State, 6-3, 315
Unclear if he’ll play center or guard, but he should go in the first round and be ready to start right away.
Will Richardson, OT, N.C. State, 6-6, 332 (junior)
He’s a top-20 tackle but could be a top-20 pick in 2019 if he stays for his senior year.
Jaylen Samuels, TE, N.C., State, 5-11, 236
A more athletic version of another H-back/tight end from Stanford, the Bengals’ Ryan Hewitt.
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State, 6-6, 215
An under-the-radar prospect who can really boost his stock with strong performances in his bowl game and the Senior Bowl.
Cameron Smith, ILB, USC, 6-2, 246 (junior)
Gifted with instincts, intelligence and athleticism, he should go somewhere in the middle of the first round.
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State, 5-11, 184
Another in the long-list of first-round corners for the Buckeyes, and the Bengals.
Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M, 5-11, 2000
A ball hawk who makes up for a lack of speed with great instincts.