It might look like OC Jackson is working on transforming this team into a power run team from the picks of Hill and Bodine. But that becomes obvious when you look at the UDFA pickups of FOUR MORE running backs. The real thing to watch this offseason will be what backs make the roster.
Right now, the Bengals have:
RB Jeremy Hill
RB James Wilder Jr
RB Rex Burkhead
RB Giovani Bernard
RB Cedric Peerman
RB/WR Jeff Scott
FB/TE Orsen Charles
FB Ryan Hewitt
FB/DE Nikita Whitlock
It's hard to see more than 6 guys making the roster at absolute most. Hill and Bernard are the only absolutes. I imagine BJGE stays on as a veteran presence, Burkhead as a depth guy who can play 3rd down, Peerman for his special teams exploits, and Hewitt. I see Charles getting the ax no matter what.
People are comparing Will Clarke to MJ because they're both big, tall, and rangy. But the two don't really compare athletically. I see Clarke more as the eventual heir to Geathers, entering the rotation with Dunlap. Geathers' issue is that he offers nothing in the pass rush game...Clarke can at least rush the passer, and has the body to gain 15+ lbs easily. Geathers is getting old and is a little overpaid, so I have no problem with this.
A 6'1" 203 lb WR who runs a 4.45? That's 6th-round pick James Wright, who has all the physical tools but could never quite get it together. People talk about his potential ST contributions, but I for one would be interested in seeing how he performs at CB. He's a better tackler than pass catcher, and his athleticism may make up for his lack of polish...
The Bengals' draft was weird. Really weird. Why? I'd say three of the Bengals' UDFAs have a better chance at making the roster than their final two or three draft picks. WR Alex Neutz is a big talent who's an excellent - if a little slow - runner, FB Ryan Hewitt is kind of a poor man's John Kuhn in that he's not an amazing run blocker but does everything else right, and SS Isaiah Lewis is an effort player who should contribute on special teams.
Final Roster Prediction. Starters in bold. Starting packages = "12" personnel on offense, 4-2-5 on defense.
QB (3) = Dalton, Campbell, McCarron
OT (3) = Whit, Smith, Hawkinson
OG (4) = Zeitler, Boling, Pollak, Newhouse
OC (2) = Bodine, Robinson
RB (6) = Bernard, Hill, BJGE, Peerman, Burkhead, Hewitt (FB)
TE (2) = Eifert, Gresham
WR (6) = Green, Jones, Sanu, Hamilton, Sanzenbacher, Tate
DT (4) = Atkins, Peko, Thompson, Still
DE (5) = Dunlap, Gilberry, Hunt, Geathers, Clarke
ILB (2) = Maualuga, Rey (hopefully reversed!)
OLB (4) = Burfict, Mays, Lamur, Porter
CB (5) = Hall, Newman, Jones, Dennard, Kirkpatrick
SS (2) = Iloka, Williams
FS (2) = Nelson, Manning
Compared to last year, that's 1 more QB, RB, OG, and DE in exchange for 1 fewer OT, TE, WR, and ILB. If Clarke and Hill light up camp, I see BJGE and Geathers as possible cuts, which would clear up a total of $8.25 million for next year.