With The Senior Bowl out of the way, we have officially ended the actual football part of the draft process. The rest of the time from here on out we will see guys rise or drop based on combine numbers and hype. I don't really like either one as a measurement of a player's ability. The only way the combine helps is to confirm what you see on the field, not completely rewrite what a guy is. Some guys jump or run faster without pads, especially the smaller guys. Before I get on a rant about this, let's move on.
As far as needs, I don't view OLB as a big need. Howard should be coming back and Lamur was a surprise this season. With Maybin and Joiner battling it out at SOLB, we don't need to draft an immediate starter there. This means we have 4 or 5 guys on our roster that have talent at LBer. We might draft an OLB later to battle for the SOLB spot or to eventually take the WOLB spot, but I doubt we take a top guy. I also think we need a better TE and another possession receiver, either a WR or a TE. We absolutely need a speed back, even if we don't replace BJGE as the short yardage back. With some of the holes our OL punched open for a nice 20+ yard gain by BJGE, a speed back would have made it a 40+ yard gain or a TD. We could also stand to get a CB to replace our aging vets in the not so distant future. We could really use a backup QB as well. I do think we need to add some play makers on O, but we need to replenish an aging D as well.
I will be affording two UDFAs and these will be my favorites. Both happen to be at positions of need as well.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Zach Ertz, Tight End, out of Stanford
I know this pick will not get many cheers, but I sincerely think it would give us better TE production. Ertz is a better route runner and pass catcher than Gresham. Ertz improved his blocking this past season as well. Ertz is my favorite TE out of this draft for good reason. He plays like a WR, but also blocks well. His ability to get open on underneath routes would give Dalton a nice safety blanket to throw to when there is pressure in his face. He can also go deep and use his size and leaping ability to make tough catches down the middle of the field.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Jonathan Cyprien, Safety out of Florida International
I will admit I have been high on this guy during the season, seeing as he is a local player from SoFL (where I'm from). I thought he would make a really nice addition to our roster as a 6th round pick, but had my questions based on who he played against. He is skyrocketing up draft charts and would be a very good starter next to Nelson. He has a nose for the ball and is very active on D. He lined up all over the field at FIU, close to the LOS, back in a deep zone and in man coverage. He is one of those small school prospects that rises eyebrows and hopefully continues to do so in the NFL.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Joesph Randle, Runningback, out of Oklahoma State
Randle is a speed back that can make players miss, but what surprised me watching tape of him was his strength. He is not afraid to lower his shoulders to pick up an extra yard after contact. His ability as a pass blocker is also refined. He steps up and meets the LBer in the hole, where the HB needs to. He uses the cut block well, but lacks the size to do much else. He would be a good #1 back, with BJGE coming in for short yardage situations.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Cornerback, out of Connecticut
Wreh-Wilson has shown impressive coverage abilities and physicality, but what worries me is his ability to turn and run with a receiver deep. He has the speed to cover most receivers. He might have trouble on double moves and the like because he is coming off a serious injury, so he might get better at it as his body fully heals. With our safeties playing deep, this should be less of an issue than on teams that run a lot of cover 0. With the move towards physical CBs and our drafting of one last season, it makes sense that we would draft a physical CB again.
The Cincinnati Bengals select William Gholston, Defensive End, out of Michigan State
Gholston is a raw DE that has a lot of good qualities. He ended up with 10 defended passes, which was what I was looking for in a DE. We have guys that can get after the QB, but no one that will batt passes down. At 6' 6", he should be able to continue to do this in the pros. He has good quickness to go along with his physicality and pure strength. He is not technically sound, but he can be coached up. He will probably never put together a monster season, but should be a good player for years to come without a true weakness, as he can set the edge, disrupt rushing and passing lanes and rush the passer. He would be a good pick, whether or not we re-sign Johnson.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Keith Pough, Outside Linebacker, out of Howard University
Pough is an interesting prospect. He has the size to play SOLB and the skills to defend the run well, but he also looks quite natural in pass protection. He is athletic for his size, but will never be mistaken for a tweener LBer because of his ability to cover. He could battle it out with Maybin and Joiner for a starting gig his first year. He has questions regarding his level of competition, but his upside overwhelms the risk in the 5th round.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Alec Lemon, Wide Receiver, out of Syracuse University
Lemon is not a speed demon, nor is he a physical freak, but he is a good route runner. He has made plays in college and has good hands. He has enough speed and agility to gain separation, but no one will mistake him with a true deep threat. There is not much on him in terms of videos, but when I watched him, I was impressed. I like his strength to get off the jam and make the tough catch. Against WVU in the bowl game, he frequently got double or triple coverage and was able to get open more than the stat sheet would tell you. He might not make too many exciting plays deep or in YAC, but hopefully he develops into a solid contributor that can pick up the tough yards over the middle when we need him to.
The Cincinnati Bengals select Colby Cameron, Quarterback, out of Louisiana Tech
Cameron is another Quarterback that doesn't have elite arm strength or measureables, but has a great college career. He set an NCAA record for consecutive passes without an interception thrown, with 447 passes. He is extremely accurate and could prove to be a nice backup to Dalton.
UnDrafted Free Agency
The Cincinnati claim D.J. Harper off waivers, Running Back, out of Boise State.
After watching him, I like his pre-LOS read and the way he feels where he needs to go. He has outstanding lateral agility and good acceleration to get through the hole. He is lighter than you would want, but he is also very short. He has a compact frame similar to that of MJD or the Jacksonville Jaguars. This would make him even more elusive in the pros, as he would not be able to be seen behind our massive OL.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim Sean Renfree off waivers, Quarterback, out of Duke University
Sean Renfree has an outstanding arm and would have been drafted in the 5th or 6th if not for his ankle injury he got on the last play of his bowl game. He is more mobile than people give him credit for and his arm strength allows him to throw lasers all over the field. Getting him as an UDFA would be great, as we would get good value as he could have rose up draft board because everyone loves a strong armed QB and he would have likely been on the North's roster for the senior bowl.
Tell me what you think in the comments section.