With Free Agency all but over, we are probably looking at the roster we will go into training camp with sans rookies and camp fodder. I will be making this mock draft with the assumption that we sign Smith, but no other outside free agents. This will allow us to focus on re-signing our core players that will become free agents next year.
I predict that MJ will be signed to a multiple year deal that lower his salary cap by a few million dollars. We could also cut Jason Allen and Jamaal Anderson to save a lot in cap space. Travelle Wharton will also be in a camp battle to keep his roster spot, because you don't pay $4 million a year to a OG backup. We will also probably sign Carlos Dunlap to an extension that will put his cap hit near $5 million a year. We could also sign Geno Atkins to a deal near $10 million a year, but that would put us near the cap. The good news is that this will give us at least $17 million next year to re-sign A.J. Green.
With the 21st selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Barrett Jones, Offensive Lineman, out of Alabama.
Barrett Jones is the best C in the draft, one of our big three offensive needs, and is tied for the best OG in the draft with his teammate. Depending on Robinson's progression, we should play Jones at C or LG. Left Guard is where he plays best, because it allows him to showcase his combination of strength and mobility. Center is a bigger impact position and we need to have a good one when everyone in your division plays a 34.
With the 37th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Giovanni Bernard, Running Back, out of North Caorlina.
Bernard would instantly bring us a playmaker to our backfield and is the best scat back in the draft. Giovanni Bernard may not be the fastest running back in the draft, but his burst and vision mixed with our great OL will allow him to break off many 20+ yard runs.
With the 53rd selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Da'Rick Rodgers, Wide Receiver, out of Tennessee Tech.
Rodgers is the most physically gifted receiver in the draft, but has had drug problems. He was kicked off of the University of Tennessee football team for these drug problems. Instead of staying out of football, he transferred to Tennessee Tech. He dominated the lesser competition, as was expected. He passed multiple drug tests and seems to have stayed sober during last season. He is also saying all the right things in interviews and seems to be on the road to recovery. On the football field, he is the best receiver in the draft. He has the best combination of size and speed and has excellent body control. He also has never dropped a ball due to a hit, which makes him ideal opposite Green. We need a guy to pick up the first on 3rd and 7. He does have a nasty habit of looking uphill before securing the catch, but that can be improved on as he has the big, strong hands necessary for the position.
With the 83rd selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Shawn Williams, Safety, out of Georgia.
Shawn Williams is a really good safety that would complement Nelson really well. He is a sound tackler that does not deviate from his assignment. This would work well opposite a free-range safety like Nelson. We don't want two safeties that jumps on routes instead of covering his deep assignment. He also has the speed to keep up with any receiver and is physical enough to come up into the box and play the run.
With the 118th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Le'Veon Bell, Running back, out of Michigan State.
Bell is a great short yardage and goal line back that has enough top line speed to make defenses pay if he can get past the first line of defense on a blitz. He is hard to bring down and is reliable. He would make a great second back to the two back system.
With the 156th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Lerentee McCray, Linebacker, out of Florida.
McCray is in the Marvin Lewis/Mike Zimmer mold of a big LBer that can defend the run. He is a good blitzer, which is what we seem to want in a SLB, so he could start there. This would have our LBing corps consisting of Lamur and McCray on the outside, with Burfict up the middle. To those who think Rey will start in the middle, Zimmer and Lewis have said conflicting things on this issue, so I think this is a smokescreen to keep teams from knowing what we are going to do on draft day.
With the 190th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Zeke Motta, Safety, out of Notre Dame.
Motta is a smart safety that played in a cover 2 system in college. He has the size our team loves and should be able to play his assignments well as we don't blitz much. He is faster than most think, as he was the one that caught guys from behind when they did break free against Notre Dame (including a certain Pitt HB).
With the 197th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Michael Williams, Tight End, out of Alabama.
Williams is a huge blocking tight end that our team could use, as Gresham is a poor blocker. a two tight end set of Charles and Williams on the goal line would give us a better advantage than the one we had last season.
With the 240th selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Jake Knott, Linebacker, out of Iowa State
Jake Knott is a WLB that fits the mold our team likes. He has really good instincts, but has less than ideal COD skills. This was not a big problem in college, as he rarely was caught out of position or taking a misstep. He should provide solid depth at OLB.
With the 251st selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals pick Jeff Teul, Quarterback, out of Washington State.
Jeff Teul is a weak-armed QB that could develop into a solid backup.
Priority Undrafted Free Agents
Spencer Ware, HB, LSU: Ware is a bruiser wiith sub-4.6 speed. That is impressive considering he is one of the heaviest backs in the draft. He was a part of a two-back system that never gets its backs any attention from nfl scouts. The Patriots have found some success with a LSU halfback that Ware succeeded.
Clay Belton, QB, Findlay: Belton is a big QB (6'6" 235 lbs) with a huge arm. He was more of a game manager in college, but has a respectable TD total, meaning he did make his fair share of plays through the air. He is purely a developmental guy. I like him because he would offer something as a backup that Dalton doesn't, a big arm.
We have upgraded the offense fully, as to give Dalton the best chance to succeed next year. Next year is likely going to be the deciding year for Dalton and this coaching staff should put him in the best position possible to take the next step. The defense got a few pieces added to it and shouldn't have any glaring holes in the roster. LAst season we relied heavily on our defense down the stretch and couldn't score against most of our best competition. We should be a more balanced team next year with this draft and should be able to score with the best of them. This would makes us an even team on offense and defense, which is the perfect formula.