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Fanspeak shows the Bengals have many roster holes

Here's what a Bengals draft could look like if Fanspeak's On The Clock draft simulator were real. It's an amazing draft that has no realistic chance of happening, yet it still doesn't address all of the team's needs.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The football tools site Fanspeak has a draft simulator called On The Clock, which fans can use to conduct a full 7-round mock draft for their favorite team. Its big board looks to be fairly accurate, but oftentimes, many high picks fall for no reason, which means it's a lot of fun to use.

After trying it a handful of times, I came up with this mock draft. Also, let's say that the Bengals receive a third-round compensatory pick for the loss of Michael Johnson, and a fifth-round compensatory pick for the loss of Anthony Collins, thus limiting options to those chosen in Fanspeak after the original third round and after the original fifth round, respectively.

Round 1 (#21): Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: top-5 overall.

Round 2 (#53): Carl Davis, NT, Iowa

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 2.

Round 3 (#85): Nelson Agholor, WR/RS, USC

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 2.

Round 3 (comp, about #100): Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 1-2 (best 40 time among all DL at NFL Combine).

Round 4 (#117): Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 3 (was projected to be a middle-first-round pick just a few months ago, but tore his ACL in Texas A&M's bowl game).

Round 5 (#149): B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 3-4.

Round 5 (comp, about #165): MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 4-5 (best 40 time among TE at NFL Combine).

Round 6 (#181): Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 5-6.

Round 7 (#213): Kenny Bell, WR/RS, Nebraska

Actual projection according to NFL Draft Scout: round 4.

With this Fanspeak dream draft, the Bengals would theoretically obtain:

  • An immediate starter at OLB
  • An immediate contributor and eventual starter at both NT and RDE
  • Immediate contributors at both WR and returner
  • An eventual starter at LT
  • A challenger for starting C
  • A #2 TE
  • A nickel CB

I would cry tears of joy if the Bengals had this draft. They'd obtain a top-five overall prospect, and four additional players with first-round or second-round talent. Considering Diggs' projection has fallen only because of his limitation to the nickel (a scheme that the Bengals use frequently), this draft would give the Bengals nine total players who all have about fourth-round talent or better. Of course, a draft of this absurd magnitude will not realistically happen.

Yet if all those bullet points were legitimately addressed, there would still be remaining positions that could really use a draft pick, such as OG, ILB, 3-tech DT, and outside CB. And while QB is not necessarily a need now, it might be the top need after 2015.

Rey Maualuga will be making $7.2 million in 2015, and Emmanuel Lamur will be making $2.4 million. That ate up about 1/4 of the Bengals' true cap space, and about 30-40% of their "self-imposed" cap space assuming the Bengals keep roughly the same amount of reserve cap space as they normally do. The team has many important players hitting free agency, and understandably needs to extend a few of them now and save up for the others, and will not be able to retain them all. All of this hampers the Bengals' ability to sign prominent free agents away from other teams, something they were probably never planning to do anyway:

Furthermore, the coaches have shown they cannot be trusted to evaluate their own players correctly *cough*PekoMaualuga*cough*. So they might not recognize certain needs in the first place, which would only hurt the team further.

The Bengals have proven that they are good enough to consistently make it to the playoffs, and there are plenty of other NFL teams (non-playoff teams) with worse rosters. However, the Bengals do have a long list of roster holes that isn't getting shorter. Unfortunately, the narrative that the team has a loaded roster and is very close to being a legitimate Super Bowl contender simply isn't true.

For that to change, a lot of things need to happen: the front office must have a great draft and begin to spend wisely in free agency, the coaches must wake up to the reality about various players they are misjudging, and certain key players on the team (chiefly Andy Dalton) must improve.