With the first day of the NFL draft in the books, the second day is fast approaching. This is a marathon of an event where teams are picking players that they believe will make their team Super Bowl contenders. The first round is about getting the projected best players out of college, but some of the best picks come from the later rounds.
Some of the best players in the league have been drafted in later rounds of the NFL draft. Donald Driver was drafted in the seventh round. He has a Super bowl ring, 735 career catches and seven 1,000-yard seasons to his name.
Shannon Sharpe was a seventh-round pick and is considered to be one of the best tight ends in the history of the NFL. He is a Hall of Famer and had caught 815 passes for his career. He also won a Super Bowl ring of his own.
The most famous of all late-round picks is Tom Brady. He was drafted in the sixth round and has made quite a career for himself out of the University of Michigan. On his resume he has three Super Bowl rings (five Super Bowl appearances), a 21-game win streak, an NFL MVP, most consecutive passes without an interception (358) and a record-setting 50 touchdowns in a single season. He's arguably the best quarterback in the league, and the best late-round pick ever.
There have been so many effective players drafted after the first round, and these next two days will be important for the Cincinnati Bengals to really stack their roster and get ready for the NFL season. With Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler already heading to Cincinnati, the question now is, what is next?
The Bengals have lost defensive ends Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker off their roster, which leaves their depth at the position lighter, and that could be an area that they address. Other key losses include Keith Rivers, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson. Rivers was a first-round pick who was too injury prone to keep on the roster. Simpson had character issues. Caldwell just didn’t create a “wow” factor when he was with the team.
The Bengals hosted a number of local players April 17, and so far all but one player is still available in the draft. Luke Kuechly was selected ninth out of Boston College and will be playing in Carolina. Some big local names still on the board are Derek Wolfe, J.K. Schaffer and Devier Posey.
Wolfe had a big season for the Cincinnati Bearcats and was a key player in their defense. He was projected to possibly make it in the first round, but after Day 1 he is still on the board. It is unlikely that he will be available for the Bengals to pick, but if he falls in the draft then this is a guy that they can’t let slip by. He’s listed as a defensive tackle, but can also play at the end. He is a powerful guy and would enhance the Bengals' pass rush.
Posey was a part of the scandals at Ohio State, and because of that he missed the majority of his senior season with the Buckeyes. He is a highly talented receiver and was the No. 1 target for Terrelle Pryor before the scandal dismantled the Buckeyes. This would not be the first troubled player that the Bengals gave a chance, and I think he could be a great value to a void in this offense.
Andy Dalton needs more weapons, and Posey would stretch out the offense and take some eyes off of A.J. Green. Assuming that Jordan Shipley comes back this season healthy, this would be a solid receiver corps. Dalton is already a very efficient passer, and has shown glimpses of greatness in his rookie season. Posey is a guy they can get in the fifth round possibly, and if it doesn’t work out then it’s not that big of a gamble.
The final player that I feel would be beneficial for the Bengals to draft is J.K. Schaffer out of Cincinnati. Schaffer is not the biggest linebacker, but he is a sure tackler and swarms to the ball. Wolfe made a lot of good plays for the Bearcats, but Schaffer has had three straight 100-tackle seasons.
The Bengals are in need of someone with good fundamentals who can wrap guys up. They made a statement with drafting Kirkpatrick that they want players who can wrap up and tackle, and Schaffer has been doing this for three years at Cincinnati.
It is time that the Bengals look in their own backyard for the talent, and Ohio is one of the most talented states when it comes to football. They started off the draft on the right foot, and I have confidence that they will make the right decision. Any team in the NFL would be happy to have these players, and I would just like to see them stay where they benefit their hometown team.