In order to understand why I chose the picks I did, I will need to clarify many things. First, I don't put much stock into the draft process. My opinions do not change much on prospects from the senoir bowl to draft day. I put much more consideration in how well the players do in college than how fast they can run in a straight line for 40 yards. Very rarely does anyone run in a straight line for more than 10 yards. DBs and WRs, rarely more than 20 yards. For prospects coming from worse divisions or those I'm not too sure about, a good East-West Shrine or Senior Bowl Week can make all the difference. That is supposed to be against the best competition in the draft class and doing well there is impressive. It also levels the playing field, because some talented WRs will never look good with their team's QB throwing them the ball. I swear I can remember seeing some film and thinking, "That QB can't hit the broad side of a mountain."
While I put stock into how well players do against their better competition, it isn't the end all be all for my evaluations. For instance, Manti T'eo put in three really good years as the Mike for Notre Dame and one bad game against the Rolling Tide doesn't completely negate those three years in my eyes. Jenkins (now a CB for the Rams) had a really bad game against Julio Jones and it didn't seem to keep him from returning multiple INTs for TDs in his rookie season.
Secondly, is how free agency has gone. Right now, there seems to be no movement on a deal with Smith and I would draft like he isn't coming back, because we need a RT next season. While there is supposed interest in Dansby, there also was with Harrison and Mitchell. I'm not going to assume that signing happens either.
The third and last thing to know is how I view this team. We rely heavily on our defense to win and this needs to change. Dalton is entering a contract season and will need weapons around him to be successful. Right now, we have no #2. We have a bunch of WRS, but they are developmental guys. Sanu needs to work on making himself open deep, while Jones needs to work on catching in traffic. Neither will be an answer at the #2 position until they can do that. Both are big challenges and we need some other option out there. We need to draft offense early to get talented play makers on offence, we already have them on defence. On defence we need multiple LBers for depth and hopefully one to start.
With the 21st pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Jonathan Cyprien, Safety, out of Florida International
Back in the season, I was a big fan of his. He showed a lot on film, but I was worried when his stock sky-rocketed to the late 1st to early second. I thought of him as a developmental player, mostly due to his lack of speed and lanky build. He looked a lot smaller on film than a 220 lbs safety should, but that might be a good thing. At FIU, he played a lot of deep halves, so he should adjust to our scheme rather quickly. At the senior bowl, he showed that he could hit as well as cover, which made me like him more. He showed a knack for knifing in from the secondary on running plays to keep the run at a minimal gain. He might get picked on early in his career, but QBs will start seeing their pass batted away and not throw at him. His lack of straight line speed means he shouldn't play center-fielder, which is fine with Nelson being a rangy safety.
As for why I chose to take a safety first, it was simply the position with the best players at 21, imo. I was actually going to pick Elam, but looked at Bengals draft history and saw we don't draft small safeties. As much as I like Elam, we won't draft him.
With the 37th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Justin Pugh, Offensive Tackle, out of Syracuse
Without signing Andre Smith, I can't see us making it out of the second round without taking an OT. Pugh was one of the top OT prospects during the season, but fell due to a 'short' arm length. I am not sure how important this is, as the last person that had his stock lowered for this was Rodger Saffold, one of the better LTs in the league. After that measurement at the Senior bowl, many scouts that he would have to move to OG, which shows you how strong this man is. He is a very good run blocker at LT and shows good base, foot speed and the ability to bend at the knees in pass protection. He could easily start at either RT or LT next season, eventually taking over for Whitworth.
With the 53rd pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Giovanni Bernard, Half Back, out of North Carolina
I simply do not know why some HBs fall and some rise in the draft process. Walterfootball, CBSSports and NFLDraftscout.com have him as a late 2nd rounder to early 3rd. During the week of senior bowl, they all had him and Lacey practically tied. I still have him as the best all around back, because he thrives in both a pro-style and spread offense. Actually the spread offense highlighted something that is thought to be a weakness, his ability to catch. Now is only weaknesses are not having elite speed and his relative lack of strength in pass protection. How many backs have elite speed? Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch certainly don't. Bernard has surprising pop when hit and can break arm tackles easily, but will never be considered a bruiser. His short area acceleration and change of direction abilities are why he was rated so high, though.
With the 83rd selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Aaron Dobson, Wide Receiver, out of Marshall
Dobson is exactly what we should be looking for in a #2 WR. Consequently, he fell because he likely won't add up to much more than a #2 WR. He is a good route runner and can make the tough catches we need our #2 to make on 3rd down. He has enough speed to get deep, but is not a burner. In the NFL, he will probably beat guys deep by baiting them into jumping a route and then breaking down field. This is fine as most Ds double Green and put a safety in the box to stop the run. This means that we need a jack of all trades at #2 and Dobson fits the bill. He did outstanding during Senoir bowl week, eliminating some level of competition concerns. Dobson is curently the 14th ranked WR by multiple sites, but may not be there because teams differ in evaluations. If Dobson is not there, we should take Jelani Jenkins out of Florida.
With the 118th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Gerlad Hodges, Linebacker, out of Penn State
Hodges is an outstanding outside linebacker and would fit in our scheme well. If we drafted Jenkins in the round before, we should take Kenny Stills here.
With the 156th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Dallas Thomas, Offensive Tackle, out of Tennessee
Thomas has multiple things going for him, but has some flaws. He will need to stop making mental mistakes, if he ever wishes to start. He also doesn't have the foot speed to play against edge rushers. He does everything else as well as you would want him to in pass protection, but is not strong enough to be a dominant run blocker. He is a project player that could hopefully start.
With the 190th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Zach Line, Full Back, out of Southern Methodist University
Zach Line is a H-back. He could end up starting at FB and play some TE on some downs. HeCame close to breaking a rushing TD record with 46 TDs (one short of Dickerson's) and he topped Ed Dickerson in all-purpose yards.
With the 197th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft,the Cincinnati Bengals select, Demetrius McCray, Cornerback, out of Appalachian State
McCray is a ballhawk at CB from a good reservoir of NFL talent for a division II school. He is tall and fast. He ended the 2012 season with 5 INTs and 9 pass deflections. This was a continuation of the 2011 season, as he had the exact same stats. His 2012 stats might have been higher, if teams didn't shy away from his side of the field. He was given an invite to the combine and showed that the speed against division II talent wasn't because of weaker competition. He clocked a 4.46 official time at the combine and a blazing 1.50 10 yard dash time.
With the 240th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Jake Knott, Linebacker out of Iowa
Jake Knott fits the formula for what the Bengals want in a LBer and would provide good depth at WOLB.
With the 251st pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Michael Mauti, Linebacker, out of Penn State
A good linebacker out of Penn state. Both him and his teammate, Gerald Hodges, were able to be leaders in the face of what happened to the Penn State football program. He would be going earlier, but has had multiple injuries in his college career.