The following picks are based on the Bengals needs (both actual and perceived), whispers of who and what they may be targeting, and a bit of wishful thinking.
1st Round 9th Overall Selection
Derek Barnett 6’3” 259 DE Tennessee
The Bengals need to add a pass rusher and Barnett may be the best in the draft. He gets an excellent jump on the ball and uses his hands well to disengage blockers. He is unrated as a run defender and can be a three down player in the NFL.
2nd Round 41st Overall Selection
Taylor Moton 6-5 330 OG/OT Western Michigan
Ethan Pocic is the popular Bengals mock draft pick here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he won’t make it past the New York Jets’ second pick. Moton is another versatile offensive line prospect with excellent size and speed. Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander attended Moton’s pro day personally. Moton should be able to challenge for a starting position at guard and could play right tackle in a pinch.
3rd Round 73rd Overall Selection
Taywan Taylor 5’11” 203 WR Western Kentucky
Taylor is a major deep ball threat out of the slot who would give the Bengals’ offense the speed they are looking for at the receiver position. The Bengals love players who are a big part of their college program. This season Taylor had 98 receptions for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns. He played well against their best competition at Alabama with 9 receptions for 121 yards, but no touchdowns.
4th Round 116th Overall Selection
Brian Hill RB 6’1” 219 Wyoming
The super productive Brian Hill has a chance to slip through the cracks in the draft. As noted above, the Bengals love players who are important to their team. The Cowboy offense handed the ball off to Hill 349 times this season as he rushed for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns. Hill is a powerful runner who can run the zone scheme and could eventually replace Jeremy Hill if the Bengals choose to move away from him.
4th Round 138th Overall Selection (Compensatory)
Josh Dobbs 6’3” 216 QB Tennessee
Josh Dobbs is one of the more raw quarterbacks in this draft class, but he is also exceptionally talented. This pick gives the Bengals a chance to develop a replacement for A.J. McCarron who will be lost to free agency in a year.
5th Round 153rd Overall Selection
Ryan Glasgow 6’3” 302 DT Michigan
Glasgow really shouldn’t slip this far, but he may because many people question how he will project to the next level. With the departure of Domata Peko, Andrew Billings appears to be the future at the nose tackle position. Glasgow who is an excellent run defender, would provide competition for the spot.
5th Round 176th Overall Selection (Compensatory)
Zane Gonzalez 6’1” 190 K Arizona State
Zane Gonzalez is the consensus #1 kicker in this draft class. The question is when will he come off the board. How much has the extra point rule change increased the value of a kicker in the draft? It is very difficult to predict if Gonzalez will still be around or if he will go much higher. If he goes higher the Bengals may look to add another kicker such as Texas Southern’s Eric Medina before or immediately after the draft ends.
6th Round 193rd Overall Selection
Nico Siragusa 6’4” 319 OG San Diego State
Siragusa had his struggles, but he put up some excellent numbers at the combine. If he slips into the 6th round he would be an excellent value pick with a lot of upside.
6th Round 217th Overall Selection (Compensatory)
Kai Nacua 6’1” 215 S BYU
Nacua is a physical safety with a knack for creating turnovers. The question is whether or not he is has the speed to compete at the NFL level.
7th Round 227th Overall Selection
Des Lawrence 6’1” 185 CB North Carolina
Lawrence fits the mold of what the Bengals look for in a corner. This pick adds depth and competition in camp.
7th Round 251st Overall Selection (Compensatory)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin 5’11” 230 LB Tennessee
Reeves-Maybin had over 100 tackles in both his sophomore and junior year at Tennessee. Unfortunately, he missed the majority of his senior season due to a shoulder injury. Though undersized, Reeves-Maybin may have the ability to push for a roster spot.