If you haven't had the pleasure of checking out the site Drafttek, it makes for an interesting read this time of year. Unlike most mock drafts this time of year, Drafttek says goodbye to the puny one-rounders and gives their readers a full seven-round buffet. They also use a unique metric for each pick--a plus/minus reach/value scale based where the particular player was picked.
Going into this offseason, most people would presume that at least some of the Bengals' first few picks would go to shore up the offense. Drafttek goes against that theory and have the Bengals loading up on defense early. Take a look:
Pick No.21: Alec Ogletree, Linebacker, Georgia:
At this point in the draft, Ogletree is the best defensive player on the board. I know he got a DUI recently but there will be no punishment next season, and I believe this just confirms him still being available at #21. Although Marvin Lewis is great at developing guys with character issues, I don't think Ogletree fits that description. The Bengals probably won't re-sign FA Rey Maualuga after an awful year. Ogletree is a sideline-to-sideline player who plays smart and fast. He went to UGA as a Safety and has exceptional coverage ability. Ogletree can play all 3 LB positions, giving the Bengals an option on who to play in each LB position. Vontez Burfict is the only clear returning starter on a team likely to shed a group of average Free Agent LBs from their roster. Ogletree will be a starter from Day 1, and put the Bengals one player closer to that next level.
Ogletree is one of the most commonly mocked players to the Bengals, but it will be interesting to see how his recent DUI affects him. He could fall into the second or even third rounds, given his history off of the field, but the first round could play out with a run on linebackers. Drafttek has Arthur Brown going to the Rams at No.16 overall and Manti Te'o going a pick before the Bengals to the Bears.
Pick No. 37, Eric Reid, Safety, LSU:
The Bengals landed Ogletree at 21. They stay on defense with the 37th pick and snag Eric Reid. He is one of my favorite players in this draft - a big, strong playmaker. The Bengals selected Safeties in the 5th rounds of back-to-back drafts (Iloka, Sanders). Those two players haven't contributed on anything other than special teams. The Taylor Mays project was a worth a shot but unsuccessful. Other than Reggie Nelson, the Safety play was so poor in 2012 they had to call the 32-year-old Chris Crocker back to contribute. They even played the 33-year-old Nate Clements at Safety from time to time. Reid is exactly what Cincy needs. A month ago, he would've been considered a bargain at 37 - don't be surprised if Reid starts climbing back up the boards after the Combine. His combination of size and speed (6'2 208 lbs) gives the Bengals the ability to play him all over the field. He is fiery, has a great presence, and brings a tremendous amount of leadership to a defense looking for a take charge character.
According to Drafttek, Reid would be the second safety off of the board with Kenny Vaccaro going No.10 to the Titans. Though they have the alternate pick being another safety in Matt Elam, one could debate which safety they prefer after Vaccaro, the consensus best player at the position in this year's draft. Reid does have good size and played for a quality college program and, as Drafttek notes, his stock could rise in the next couple of months. Jonathan Cyprien, a favorite amongst many of our readers at CJ, was mocked to the 49ers at No.61.
Pick 53, Khaseem Greene, Linebacker, Rutgers:
The Bengals could go many directions here but spend their 3rd pick in a row on one of the best remaining defensive players. Khaseem Greene, added with Ogletree to join Burfict could create the youngest and most productive Linebacker corps in the NFL for the next decade. Greene is a tough and smart player and a standout special teams player. In 2012 he racked up 2 Int's and 6 sacks. In one game versus Army, he accumulated a ridiculous 22 tackles. The Bengals continue their youth movement on defense in an attempt to move ahead of the defending champs, and the aging Steelers.
Hm. The Bengals are definitely in need of multiple linebackers this year, especially if the popular opinion that Rey Maualuga and Manny Lawson not coming back holds true. Still, in this mock there are quality offensive players left on the board like USC wide receiver Robert Woods (mocked at No.57 to the Texans), and UCLA running back, Jonathan Franklin (mocked at No.113 to the Giants).
Pick 84, Mike Gillislee, Running Back, Florida:
And we finally have an offensive player! This is a pick that would make some Bengals fans jump for joy and others tear their hair out. Gillislee has good speed, but has his shortcomings as a back as well. Our own Joe Goodberry calls him one of his "change of pace backs" and give him a fifth or sixth round grade, saying:
Gillislee looks thinner than he's listed. He runs smaller also. He has good straight-line speed and hits the hole hard. I didn't see lateral agility or change-of-direction (COD) ability that a back with his size should have. Gillislee isn't a very creative runner in space and usually just barrels into the defender. He's a solid pass protector but with very little experience as a pass receiver. It's a positive that he's had only one season of carrying the load in college. He has fumbled about once every 97-carries. He has some considerable upside and good speed, but I didn't see a single special trait that would make me target Gillislee in this draft.
Pick 115, Lavar Edwards, Defensive End, LSU:
Four out of their first five picks are on players in the SEC, according to Drafttek. It's not a bad strategy really, considering that Florida, LSU and Georgia were three of the best teams in the nation throughout 2012. Edwards would be a nice piece along the Bengals' stout defensive front and would be a good insurance policy, depending on what happens with Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers, and/or Jamaal Anderson. Edwards had four sacks as a senior last year.
Pick 149, Cobi Hamilton, Wide Receiver, Arkansas:
We're beginning to wonder if the Drafttek guys are a bit partial to the SEC. Hamilton fills a need for another big wide receiver on the roster, but he remains a bit of a mystery. He posted 90 catches for 1,335 yards last year, but only had five touchdown receptions. Keep in mind that the Razorbacks football program was a mess last season and quarterback Tyler Wilson wasn't the same guy that he was in 2011. An interesting note about Hamilton: he is also a track star and if he runs well at the Combine, teams could drool over a fast guy with decent hands at six feet, three inches tall.
Pick 180, Johnny Adams, Cornerback, Michigan State:
Another position group that needs some shoring up, Drafttek has the Bengals grabbing a talented corner late in the draft as they did in 2012 with Shaun Prater. Adams had three interceptions, seven passes defensed and a sack for the Spartans last season. He could be a nice addition for depth, especially with the statuses of Prater, Dre Kirkpatrick and Brandon Ghee questionable in 2013.
Pick 187, Kerwynn Williams, Running Back, Utah State:
Draftek has the Bengals finishing their draft with another addition to their offensive backfield. Keep in mind that this pick is from the 2011 trade of Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots. Williams is on the smaller side, but could be a decent complementary back. In 2012, Williams showed the ability to break big plays on the ground, as well as catch the ball, which is something that the Bengals need.
Thoughts on these picks for the Bengals by Drafttek?