Cincinnati Bengals Day 2 Draft Primer
The first day of the NFL draft went as expected for the Cincinnati Bengals. They didn't trade up or down, instead waiting for the right cornerback to fall to them. Darqueze Dennard was the third cornerback off the board and the Bengals' first pick of the 2014 draft.
With their biggest need addressed, the Bengals now need to focus on finding as much talent as they possibly can.
It's a position that most teams would be envious of. The Bengals don't desperately need to find specific types of players. They can take almost any position in the second round if the talent is there. While many preach the idea of always taking the best player available, it's not always practical for NFL teams.
Day 1 Recap & Analysis
As everyone expected, the Bengals had a number of different directions to go in during the first round of the draft.
They ultimately went with a cornerback, Darqueze Dennard, but they passed on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. That was a strong statement of support for Andy Dalton, but that doesn't mean they won't take a quarterback at another stage of the draft.
Dennard will be able to contribute quickly for the Bengals, and he has the ability to move around the field. He could be the long-term replacement for Leon Hall in the slot, but he could also stay outside to replace Terence Newman if Hall returns to full health.
The Bengals sit in a good position now because they have addressed their primary need. Finding a replacement for Michael Johnson at defensive end would be nice, but it's not a major necessity, while any other additions would be simply for competition.
Trading up seems unlikely for the Bengals, but they also shouldn't be expected to trade down. Sitting where they are and letting the talent fall to them seems like the obvious route from here on out.
Updated Needs for Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals addressed their biggest need in the first round of the draft, so the pressure has slackened entering the second day. By selecting Dennard, the Bengals can try to let the talent fall to them or they can choose to be more aggressive in pursuit of addressing other areas of need.
These are the next most notable areas that the Bengals could address on Day 2.
1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Line
5. Wide Receiver
The absence of Michael Johnson won't be felt too forcefully, but the need to add to the rotation is still apparent. A handful of edge-rushers were taken during the first round, but there are still some athletic edge players who could be developed by the Bengals staff ahead of next season.
The Bengals' starting unit remains untouched...for now. There wasn't a single center taken during the first round of the draft, so the Bengals could consider trading up for someone or take advantage of the falling prospects to reinforce the inside of their offensive line.
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens selected athletic inside linebackers during the first round of the draft, so the Bengals may be following their divisional rivals if they find a linebacker they like on Day 2.
While three quarterbacks went in the first round, there are still a handful of talented players who could be available for the Bengals in the second round. Derek Carr is unlikely to last long enough for the Bengals to select him, but someone like Logan Thomas looks like a possibility at this stage.
Five wide receivers went in the first round of the draft, but the depth at this position is phenomenal this year. Taking any wide receiver would be about taking value, so the Bengals may find it too tough to pass on someone in Rounds 2 or 3.
Top Day 2 Targets
This is a very deep draft, so the Bengals should be hoping to land quality contributors in the second and third rounds.
1. Trai Turner, OG, LSU
Turner is a very talented player who would provide the Bengals with a potential starter at left guard to improve their offensive line. That would move Clint Boling to a backup role, giving the Bengals excellent depth up front. Even if Turner doesn't take Boling's starting spot, he should prove to be one of the best backups in the NFL.
2. Marcus Martin, OC, USC
The Bengals don't desperately need a starting center, but if a quality player like Martin drops to them it will be tough to pass on him. Martin is versatile, but he would likely be expected to start at center from the first week of his rookie season.
3. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Thomas is a quarterback who has the physical talent of any other in this class. However, he had major issues with his consistency and decision-making during his time in college. With the right coaching, the Bengals may feel like he is the perfect prospect to push Andy Dalton.
4. Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Gaines is a very talented cornerback with the physical tools and body control to mirror receivers consistently. He needs to improve his recognition of the football when it arrives, and there are some inconsistent footwork issues that need to be cleaned up. Gaines has starter potential.
1. Telvin Smith, LB, FSU
With Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga as established starters, the Bengals have two very good pieces for their three-man linebacking group. Emmanuel Lamur will be expected to play a big role, but the potential to add a talent like Telvin Smith in that role will be hard for the Bengals to pass up.
2. Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
Turner is a very good athlete who struggled with his technique in college. He showed a tendency to lean forward and lose his balance in an attempt to engage defenders too quickly. Turner would be a developmental tackle with some potential to move inside.
3. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
The Bengals are always looking to add quality defensive linemen, and Will Sutton is a very good player who has dropped because of weight issues. He is a penetrating defensive tackle who could immediately help fill in for Geno Atkins if he is slow to recover from his torn ACL injury.
4. Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Desir played football against a low level of competition during his time in college. He is clearly physically talented, but there are question marks when it comes to just how good he can be against professional receivers. Desir is similar to Antonio Cromartie in that he is primarily a boundary cornerback who is less effective when asked to follow receivers inside.
5. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Back issues and a failed drug test at the combine to go along with a torn ACL will drop Mettenberger down the board. He would become a value pick in the third round, because he does have a lot of physical talent even with the college inconsistency and issues arising during the draft process.
What Are the Experts Saying?
The second round of the draft is always tougher to predict, but many draft analysts attempted to do multiple-round mock drafts this year to try to give us an idea of what the Bengals might do.
At this stage of the draft, adding a starting center would be great value for the Bengals. Martin in particular is a very talented and versatile player.
"If they are going to run it more, they need a feature back."
This seems like an unlikely selection, but there is no doubting the value. Hyde could immediately replace BenJarvus Green-Ellis and keep Giovani Bernard in a more versatile role.
"At 6-3, 273 pounds, Crichton is built similarly to departed DE Michael Johnson, who was a valuable component of Cincinnati's line depth. Like Johnson, Crichton could do some damage inside on passing downs."
The departure of Michael Johnson did create a void at defensive end. The Bengals don't need an immediate starter because of the depth that remains at the position, but Crichton is good enough to immediately compete for playing time.
"The Bengals lost their backup do-it-all lineman Anthony Collins. They like to take guys in the trenches in the middle rounds and they like them versatile. Here is a guy that can help at guard and center for now and is a mauler in the running game that Hue will want. He lacks the ideal arm length to take over for Whitworth at covering the blind side, but he is a big guy, so you never know. I know it's not a flashy pick but based on what's available they will go here. Had Lawrence not gone a pick before he would have been the guy."
Turner is very talented and he could immediately replace Clint Boling as the Bengals' starting left guard.
Cincinnati Bengals Predictions for Day 2
With Darqueze Dennard added to the roster, the Bengals can be more aggressive on Day 2 of the draft.
The Bengals will take a quarterback
Because they failed to secure anyone in the first round of the draft, the Bengals will select a quarterback in the second or third round of the draft in order to provide legitimate competition for Andy Dalton. Dalton should remain the starting quarterback in 2014, but the pressure could amp up his performances.
The Bengals will trade up into the third round
The Bengals have two extra picks this year, but neither pick can be traded. However, those picks still provide some flexibility for Marvin Lewis' staff because they can be more aggressive with their other picks. Those two picks come in the sixth and seventh rounds, so the Bengals may package up a fourth and a fifth to get another third-rounder.
With that pick they will take a wide receiver
Wide receiver is not a need for the Bengals, but the value in the third round at the position could be overwhelming. The Bengals don't have any receivers that they desperately need to get rid off, but they do have multiple players on the roster they could improve over.
The Bengals will take one of these guys if they fall to the third round: Devonta Freeman, Tre Mason or Carlos Hyde
Running backs are always falling nowadays, but that doesn't mean you can't be aggressive to get great value. Because of Giovani Bernard's versatility, any of the top three backs would be good complements to him over the next three or four years.
Updated Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft
The Bengals' biggest need is out of the way, so that affects our mock draft. Instead of taking a cornerback in Round 2, the Bengals will now take a quarterback...
Round 2, Pick No. 55: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Thomas is an exceptional physical talent who was very, very inconsistent in college. He needs to be coached better and find a team that will take the time to develop him. The Cincinnati Bengals can be that team, and he should be available when they pick again.
Although he may not be as good as Dalton right now, the physical talent of Thomas should be intimidating for the Bengals' current starter during training camp.
Round 3, Pick No. 88: Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
Ideally, the Bengals would like to add a player who can compete with Clint Boling for the starting left guard spot or a potential starting center during the first three rounds of the draft. However, in this draft that player doesn't fall to them.
Instead, they take the best value offensive lineman available, Antonio Richardson. Richardson is a tackle with incredible athleticism. He needs to develop better technique, but in terms of pure physical talent he has long-term starter potential.
Round 4, Pick No. 123: Devonta Freeman, RB, FSU
The Bengals have good depth at the running back position, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis shouldn't be around much longer. With Giovani Bernard entrenched as a starter, they will only be looking for complementary players at the position in this draft.
Freeman's value at this point of the draft is too tempting to pass on. He could immediately compete for playing time as a nickel back because of his pass protection, meaning the Bengals could be more diverse in how they use Bernard.
Round 5, Pick No. 164: Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College
Pierre-Louis will remind the Bengals of a shorter Emmanuel Lamur. Lamur was expected to be an important player for the defense in 2013, but injury stopped his season before it began. Defenses are moving toward having more linebackers who can cover, so adding Pierre-Louis not only to compete with Lamur for playing time but also perhaps to play with him in certain packages makes sense.
Round 6, Pick No. 199: Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan
Andrew Hawkins departed for the Cleveland Browns this year. The Bengals don't necessarily need to replace him with someone from the draft, but they can add a player who could offer that skill set and be a punt returner by taking Jeremy Gallon in the sixth round.
Round 6, Pick No. 212: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
Seantrel Henderson has the physical talent of a first-round pick, the production of a third-round pick and the character concerns of an undrafted free agent. It's tough to determine where Henderson will go, but some teams will likely have him completely off their boards.
The biggest issue for Henderson is that he failed a drug test at the combine. A number of players have done this in recent seasons and still gone on to success in the NFL, including Vontaze Burfict of the Bengals.
Round 7, Pick No. 239: Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford
Round 7, Pick No. 252: Kerry Wynn, DE, Richmond
After failing to find a defensive end they were comfortable taking in earlier rounds, the Bengals spend two picks on athletes in the seventh.