After weeks of speculation, reading experts picks as well as all the loyal fan posts, and countless practice drafts using every scenario I could imagine, I have created a few basic rules I think would maximize the bengals chances of succeeding this season and beyond.
please note, I am not any kind of expert, I don't study film, don't know exactly how teams truly value any players and don't know exactly every teams individual needs. I do however prepare by studying what others smarter than I say about prospects. Feel free to disagree and post your own thoughts.
#1 WR is a luxury, not a need - sanu and jones are more than capable of carrying the torch. There is no need to reach for one early nor waste a pick late (unless they are drafted for return skills). That said, if an extremly talented wideout should fall (I still dream of Austin at 21, fat chance) they could completely change the complexities of the offense (think of what Julio Jones brought to Rodney white in Atlanta).
#2 Expect another DE in the first 3 picks, possibly at 21 - a couple of prospects tabbed as top 20 picks are going to fall. I think most likely a few top DE's will be available at 21 or early second round. I also like Brandon Jenkins 3rd or 4th round.
#3 a lot of attention should be paid to the o line - there is a lot of depth available at OT, C late in the draft. If a guy like lane Johnson should fall, I could even see it addressed as early as 21. I would not spend 21 on DJ Fulker, but wouldn't mind him in the second. More likely I see names like Barrett jones, Kyle Wilson, Brennan Williams, menelik Watson and terron armstead targeted in the 3rd/4th. And there are a ton of OT in the 5th/6th like Wagner, fragel, Alvin bailey and more. I could see 2 OT a C and possibly a OG all taken in the first 6 rounds. We can lose Smith and still improve this line overall making our new RB and Dalton that much better.
#4 safety needs to be addressed in the first 3 rounds - it is a deep class, but we have a real need to add someone who can step up right away. After the 3rd, I see great value, just not immediate contributors. I really want Vacarro. Would alo look at Ried and Cyprien at 2b...
#5 there is no need to take a linebacker - with or without a Harrison signing, this is not as big a need as previously thought. Using the nickel 50+% of the time, we can get by with what we have. Of the many scenarios I played out, the best drafts always didn't include a top lb. Passing on the top LB talent opens up a lot more possibilities and there are some special mid to late round projects (nico, lotuleloi, reddick, beauharnais). No need to reach for a brown or green, Moore etc.
#5 no need to reach for a running back - yea, kind of obvious. Ellington, Franklin, joe Randall, etc are going to be there at 2b, 3 and possibly 4.
#6 unless a game changer falls to 21, please please please trade down. I only have a few guys I would take at 21 and its possible none of them will be on the board( Austin, Vacarro, Johnson, Warmac, a top DE). Looking at the value an additional 3rd or early 4th would bring, don't reach for lacy, Cyprien, Brown, etc. Also, if I could get an additional pick ere, I would take a chance on a Lattimore or Mathieu but would not without the additional pick.
This is what I have... Feel free to generate some additional thoughts or expand on what points you agree/disagree with.