Cincinnati Bengals Day 3 2014 NFL Draft Primer
The Cincinnati Bengals draft has been somewhat peculiar after three rounds.
A first-round pick spent on Darqueze Dennard made perfect sense, but the second-round investment in Jeremy Hill was unexpected. This was always a possibility, because the Bengals are a team who are desperate to take a step towards the Super Bowl.
The third round returned us to more expected ground, as the Bengals invested in a defensive end to help replace Michael Johnson.
As we prepare for the latter round selections, we should continue to expect the Bengals to be aggressive in their pursuit of talent.
Day 2 Recap
Selecting Jeremy Hill in the second round of the draft was a major surprise for the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill wasn't expected to go that early in the draft and there were supposedly better running backs available. Furthermore, this is the second season in a row that the Bengals have taken a running back in the second round.
Hill would've been a value pick in round 4. Should've been a 3rd— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) May 10, 2014
This is the kind of move that the Bengals feel comfortable making because they don't have a desperate need that must be filled.
After taking the perceived value in the second round, the Bengals circled back to address a need in the third round. Defensive end Will Clarke is a very long and athletic defensive end who will need to be developed over time, but he has the potential to be a starter down the line.
Clarke will follow the same path that Michael Johnson and Margus Hunt have before him.
Updated Needs for Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have addressed needs with each of their picks to this point in the draft. In the first round, they picked Darqueze Dennard to replenish an aging cornerback position. In the second round, running back Jeremy Hill was selected. Finally, Will Clarke was brought in as a developmental defensive end.
So, what positions still need to be addressed? None of these are major needs, but preferred areas.
1. Offensive Tackle/Guard
2. Starting Center
The Bengals need to find a guard or left tackle to replace the departed Anthony Collins. Marshall Newhouse was added to the roster during free agency, but he needs more competition.
The Bengals have Mike Pollak and Trevor Robinson in place to compete for the starting spot, but there are a few more options left in the draft who could come in and win that starting spot in a training camp competition.
Because of how the draft has played out, the Bengals should have plenty of opportunities to select a high-quality developmental quarterback.
A coverage linebacker would still be a good addition for the defense, but they could also look for Rey Maualuga's long-term replacement.
The Bengals could double down on the cornerback position to infuse more youth at a spot where there are still too many players over 30 years of age.
Top Day 3 Targets
It's very tough to predict the first round of the NFL draft; that became apparent on Thursday night. It's even tougher to predict the second round. Predicting whom each team wants from the fourth round on is essentially impossible, but that won't stop me from trying.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
A torn ACL and a failed drug test at the combine dropped Mettenberger, but his physical talent will make him an appealing addition to the Bengals. He needs to be developed and find greater consistency on the next level.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Thomas is an exceptional physical talent who needs excellent coaching to develop more consistency.
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Fleming is a very big offensive tackle who too often shows off heavy feet in pass protection. He does have good strength and length with the ability to transition his power as a run blocker, but he needs a lot of work with his technique in pass protection to compensate for his feet.
Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State
Smith is an undersized linebacker who some believe should move to safety. He doesn't really have the range to be a safety, but he is a very athletic linebacker who should excel working the middle of the field. He may be short, but he plays heavy and hard through contact.
Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson
Red flags and a relatively underwhelming combine performance dropped Breeland down the board. He is a talented player, but he also comes with some risk. That risk is minimized the further he falls down the board. The Bengals could definitely use a player with his talent.
Wesley Johnson, C, Vanderbilt
Johnson may be too small to handle the big defensive linemen in the AFC North, but there will come a point in the draft where his combination of awareness, intelligence and comfort in space will become appealing to the Bengals.
Seantrel Henderson, T, Tennessee
A failed drug test at the combine has hurt Henderson's stock. He wasn't ever expected to go in the first round and it would have been a reach to select him in the second round, but based on talent he should be a third rounder. Henderson would be a developmental athlete at the left tackle position for the Bengals.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College
Kevin Pierre-Louis is a converted safety. He would fit as a weak-side linebacker and complement the rest of the linebacker corps. He needs to bulk up a bit and be more physical working through contact.
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Colvin is an impressive athlete at the cornerback position who should have gone higher in the draft. However, he tore his ACL during Senior Bowl practice and will likely miss all of his first season in the NFL. The Bengals are the kind of team who can afford to stash a player for a year and reap the rewards of his talent later on.
Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
Lynch is a freakish athlete who needs to be developed before assuming a role in the Cincinnati defense. His technique is very sloppy and inconsistent, and there are also questions about his motor.
Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
Being too top heavy and having less-than-ideal arm length will hurt Larsen's stock, but he has some talent as a run-blocking center. His quickness, in particular, stands out.
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron was a very good college quarterback, but he is not a great pro prospect. He was too reliant on his teammates in college, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the tools to develop into a decent backup, even a starter. As a later pick, he has good value.
Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State
The Bengals have a variety of talented receivers who fill different roles behind A.J. Green. If they do lack one thing, it's a big, physical receiver (other than Green) who can consistently win at the catch point.
Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State
Wenning is a very talented passer who started four years in college. As an all-around player, he is wanting, but his throwing ability makes him a somewhat enticing developmental player.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Once we get past the first three rounds, the waters of the NFL draft become very muddy. It's tough to accurately project picks, but you can still get a good feel for specific team's needs and how they relate to the depth of the draft.
Miller did a full seven-round mock draft before the NFL draft began, so he has a selection for each round for the Bengals:
Round 4: Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State.
Round 5: Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse. (Selected in third round)
Round 6: Zach Moore, DE, Concordia-St. Paul
Round 6: Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Round 7: Chris Boswell, K, Rice
Round 7: Tre Boston, SS, North Carolina
The standout pick here for the Bengals comes in the fourth round. Telvin Smith is a very talented and effective linebacker who plays all over the field. However, his size is what pushed him down the board in Miller's mock draft.
The other most notable pick from Miller's projections is running back Marion Grice in the sixth round. Grice lacks special physical traits, but he is an intelligent runner who displays on occasion the power to move the pile. He could contribute much more than his draft spot suggests.
Just like Miller for Bleacher Report, Peter Schrager did a full seven-round mock draft over at Fox Sports.
Round 4: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
Round 5: Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas
Round 6: Kenneth Acker, CB, SMU
Round 6: Carlos Fields, LB, Winston-Salem State
Round 7: Josh Walker, G, Middle Tennessee State
Round 7: Qua Cox, CB, Jackson State
Schrager was thinking linebacker in the fourth round also, but he penciled in Smith's teammate at FSU, Christian Jones. Jones is a very impressive athlete with good size, but he needs to show better awareness and technique in most facets of the game.
The notable selection from Schrager is quarterback Garrett Gilbert, a prospect who left Texas for SMU during his college time and failed to deliver on the potential he was supposed to have coming out of college.
While Cincy Jungle over at SBNation didn't do a full seven-round mock draft, they did go through potential Bengals selections.
Round 4: Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Round 5: Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State (Selected in third round)
Round 6: Antone Exum, CB/S, Virginia Tech
Round 6: Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma
Round 7: Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
Round 7: Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona
This is likely the most optimistic and intriguing mock draft of the three. Dri Archer was the name that stood out, because he is an exceptionally fast player. But NFC North rival Pittsburgh land Archer in the third round.
Michael Sam in the seventh round would steal all the headlines on the third day of the draft, but it's Virginia Tech's Antone Exum who should catch the eye of Bengals fans more concerned with what happens on the field. Exum is a cornerback who could become a starting safety at some point in his career.
Cincinnati Bengals Predictions for Day 3
The final four days can be a crapshoot. It's never clear what strategy teams are using and whether they really value their later picks because of the state of their rosters.
The Bengals will add a 2015 draft pick.
With a very talented and deep roster, the Bengals don't need to fill out their depth chart with draft picks this year. While they may not add a high pick in next year's draft, there's a chance of them swapping out a pick from this year for a pick in 2015.
The Bengals will select a quarterback.
A number of quarterbacks are still available in this draft who could put pressure on Andy Dalton. Logan Thomas, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Tom Savage, Aaron Murray (Georgia), David Fales (San Jose State), Keith Wenning and Brett Smith could all be in play at different stages of the draft.
Neither Colt Lyerla nor Isaiah Crowell will be drafted by the Bengals.
Under Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have always been the first team linked with talented but problematic prospects. Lyerla and Crowell are the poster boys for that type of player this year. Oregon's Lyerla is a tight end and Crowell, from Alabama State, is a running back.
Updated Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft
The Bengals may not have many roster spots left to give out to late-round rookies, but this team has always been good at finding talent where struggle so the intrigue of the final four rounds will remain.
Round 4, Pick No. 123: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Andy Dalton is a smart quarterback without great physical attributes. Logan Thomas is an exceptionally gifted physical specimen who can make every throw but needs to develop his intelligence and awareness on the field. Thomas is the type of player who could prosper with the right direction for a smart coaching staff. He would immediately put pressure on Andy Dalton to perform.
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 makes sense—not only in terms of providing Lamur with competition but also perhaps to play the two together in certain packages.
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 same 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
Inspite of adding Will Clarke earlier in the draft, the Bengals decide to double down twice in the seventh round to add more competition on the defensive line.