Could Tennessee Tech's Da'Rick Rogers be the answer across from A.J. Green?
So far, so good for the Cincinnati Bengals through three rounds of the 2013 NFL draft. As far as needs go, it was a short list of offensive weapons, a quality defensive back to play safety and a franchise running back.
Scratch all of that off the list, and Cincinnati still has six selections to make.
Andy Dalton has a shiny new weapon in Tyler Eifert. He also has a potential franchise running back to hand the ball to in Giovani Bernard. Defensively, the Bengals scary-deep defensive line got deeper with Margus Hunt, and the team might have a new starter at strong safety in Shawn Williams.
So what's next?
As head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. have shown, the name of the game is about value and need, specifically in that order.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how Day 3 could play out for the Bengals.
All pertinent prospect info courtesy of CBS.
Da'Rick Rogers would start across from A.J. Green immediately in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Bengals have proven over the past two days to care about value more than anything else.
If that's the case, you won't find a bigger value in the fourth round than Tennessee Tech's Da'Rick Rogers.
To be blunt, Rogers is an elite talent. Had he remained out of trouble, he would have been the first receiver off the board this year, and likely early in the first round.
The problem is, Rogers transferred from Tennessee after a stellar 2011 campaign after being suspended for breaking team rules.
Cincinnati can afford to take a gamble here, and the reward far, far outweighs the risk if it pays off on the field. Rogers across from A.J. Green with Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham at tight end would make for one of the NFL's best offenses.
Kenjon Barner could add more explosiveness to the Cincinnati backfield.
The Cincinnati Bengals used the No. 37 overall pick to select running back Giovani Bernard, and he and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will likely take up the bulk of the carries for the team next season.
Bernard is an ideal every-down back in Cincinnati's West Coast offense, but adding another talented back won't hurt here.
Oregon's Kenjon Barner is an explosive runner who can take any handoff or reception for a touchdown. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, but that does not do his sheer speed justice.
Last season alone, Barner rushed for over 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns. No matter what level you play at, that kind of production is rare.
Barner could come in and act as the third-down back in Cincinnati and also contribute on special teams as a returner.
He's an electric weapon the Bengals could use in a variety of ways on an already frightening offense.
Garrett Gilkey would add quality depth to the Bengals line.
In case you have not heard, Cincinnati Bengals starting right tackle Andre Smith is back in the fold after signing a new three-year deal with the team (per Bengals.com).
This means Cincinnati had the luxury of looking to skill positions in the earlier rounds rather than addressing the offensive line.
Now would be the time to add depth.
Said depth could come in the form of Garrett Gilkey out of Chadron State. He's a project player who acted as an offensive tackle at the collegiate level, but may have to be moved inside to guard once he enters the NFL.
That's perfectly fine if you're the Bengals because the left guard situation is still a bit of an unknown with Clint Boling under-performing last season and Travelle Wharton coming back from a serious injury.
There's no chance Gilkey would be able to start next season, but he's a nice project who could turn out to be a starter in a few seasons.
Marcus Cromartie has a skill set that could develop nicely in a few years.
The Cincinnati Bengals certainly aren't short-staffed at the cornerback position, but adding some insurance in case injuries occur is a smart way to go.
At this point in the draft there will not be quality starters available, but there will most certainly be talent that has the potential to be groomed into something special a few years down the road.
That's where Wisconsin's Marcus Cromartie comes into play.
Cromartie has prototypical size at 6'0" and 195 and is an elite athlete. At the Wisconsin pro day he ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 34" vertical.
Combine those numbers with quality ball skills and raw abilities, and Cromartie has the makings of a sleeper pick if he ends up with the right coaching staff.
Said staff could reside in Cincinnati.
Sean Renfree has the tools to be a quality backup quarterback in the NFL.
The Cincinnati Bengals quietly have John Skelton and Josh Johnson hiding behind starting quarterback Andy Dalton on the chance he falters and fails to take the next step in his development.
That's not going to cut it if worse comes to worse.
At the very least, Cincinnati has to find a younger talent who could develop. Skelton and Johnson are known commodities at this point.
Duke's Sean Renfree is a prototypical quarterback. At 6'3" and 220 pounds with an arm to make every NFL throw and coming out of a pro-style offense, Renfree could shock some at the next level.
It will take some coaching, but Renfree could win the backup job outright as soon as this offseason.
John Lotulelei has enough talent to end up on the practice squad for the Bengals.
This far down the board in the NFL draft, teams are searching for a hidden gem who could make a difference in a few years, if not sooner.
Those gems are few and far between.
Still, the Cincinnati Bengals could give UNLV product John Lotulelei (no relation to Carolina Panthers' Star Lotulelei) a shot this late in the game.
While Lotulelei does not have great size at only 6" tall, he was a ferocious defender as the starting weakside linebacker during his time in college.
Lotulelei could perhaps sneak onto the practice squad and be groomed by an excellent defensive coaching staff. At some point, he could even be promoted because of injury and make an impact on special teams.
No matter what happens, picking a guy like Lotulelei—who has recorded 120 tackles in one season—is never a bad idea at this point.
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