After snagging Darqueze Dennard with their first-round pick, the Cincinnati Bengals are off to a fast start in the 2014 NFL draft. They have a great chance to build on this by adding another impact player in Rounds 2 and 3, and there will be some quality prospects in the 4th-7th rounds as well.
Here's a look at who the Bengals could get based on who's still on the board heading into tonight.
TRADE: Bengals send 55th, 123rd and 199th to Detroit Lions for Pick No. 45 to select Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
The Bengals ship their 2nd, as well as a 4th and 5th-round pick to the Lions to move up 10 spots A similar trade like this happened last year when the Baltimore Ravens gave up a 5th and 6th-rounder to move up 6 spots to the 56th pick to select Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown.
The Bengals send a similar haul to jump up to pick 45, 1 spot ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to draft defensive lineman Kony Ealy. Regarded as one of the best DE prospects in this draft, Ealy was projected to go as high as 15th-overall ot the Steelers, and the Bengals know they need to move ahead of their AFC North rivals to secure his services.
The 6-4, 275-pound Ealy has accounted for 24.5 tackles for loss,13 sacks, 13 pass deflections and 4 forced fumbles. He'd challenge Margus Hunt for the starting DE spot opposite of Carlos Dunlap.
3rd Round, Pick No. 88: Trai Turner, OG, LSU
With Hue Jackson now the offensive coordinator, the Bengals are going to run the ball more, and having a great run-blocking guard like LSU's Trai Turner will be something Hue is banging the table for during the draft.
Turner is a mauler in the run game and engulfs defenders who try to bull rush him in pass protection. He does a good job of consistently getting under opponents' pads and winning the leverage battle.
Andre Smith, Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth all have expiring contracts in 2016, one year after Boling's rookie deal ends. Turner could be a valuable commodity for the Bengals in 2014 and beyond.
5th Round, Pick No. 164: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College
Overlooked an an undersized 6'1", 235-pound backer from Boston College, Kevin Pierre-Louis is an athletic freak who could be the steal of this year's draft.
Pierre-Louis set career-bests as a senior in 2013 with 108 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and his first career interception, earning All-ACC First Team honors.
With the Bengals, he would play weakside linebacker mostly while possibly getting some snaps as a nickle-defensive end.
6th Round, Pick No. 212 (Compensatory): Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
The Bengals get their developmental QB in Wyoming's Brett Smith, who's fallen under the radar of many after once being projected as a high Day 3 pick.
His pro-day numbers, including his 4.51 second 40-yard time – fastest among quarterbacks in the draft – have put him on people’s minds as an intriguing Day 3 prospect.
In his three years at Wyoming, Smith rushed for 1,529 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing 76 touchdowns and 28 interceptions with a 61.9% career completion rate.
He's someone who develop into a quality NFL backup, possibly even a starter. At this point , that's the best you can hope for.
7th Round, Pick No. 239 Overall: Brock Vereen, S, Minnesota
Vereen has shifted between cornerback and safety in college, and would be an ideal candidate to backup both Nelson and Iloka at safety while also providing depth at CB. Vereen was a full-time starting CB in 2011, recording 67 tackles 67 and 3.5 tackles for loss.
He moved to free safety in 2012 and started seven games and began his senior season there in 2013 before moving back to cornerback for the final seven games, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors.
Vereen would provide the Bengals with depth at both safety spots, and he could possibly sneak in a few snaps at nickle-cornerback.
7th Round, Pick No. 252 (Compensatory): Allen Hurns, WR, Miami, Fl.
In 2013, Hurns played in all 13 games at receiver, making 11 starts and leading the team in receptions (62) and receiving yards (1,162) and second on team with six TD receptions. He set single-season school record with 1,162 receiving yards, breaking mark previously held by Leonard Hankerson, and his 62 receptions are the third-most in single-season at UM.
But there are a lot of holes in Hurns' game. He's not a great route-runner, and he has far too many drops. Watching his tape, it's clear he's too inconsistent to warrant anything more than a late 6th-round pick. It didn't help that he played with the enigmatic Stephen Morris.
Hurns is talented enough to earn a post on the Bengals' 53 -man roster, but at worst, would make it onto the practice squad.