As the SB Nation writer's mock draft continues, we're now into the second round.
I was able to secure Alabama safety Landon Collins for Cincinnati in the first round. I did so by sticking to the big board and going with the best players available, something the Bengals have been good about doing, at least in the first round. I stayed true to the board in Round 2 by once again taking the BPA at pick No. 53: TCU linebacker Paul Dawson.
Depending on who you ask, this may have been a tremendous steal in getting arguably the best 4-3 LB prospect in the second round. Not to mention this feels like a big position of need with Cincinnati. Dawson led the Horned Frogs with 136 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four interceptions and was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
One concern with Dawson is he's best suited at weakside LB, and once Burfict is back, he'll reclaim that spot. The Bengals would then need to find a way to have both on the field. They usually play just two LBs in their base nickel defense, and they'd probably go with Burfict and Dawson in that case and Emmanuel Lamur wouldn't play as much.
When I made the pick, the other top players still available were Florida State CB P.J. Williams (32nd overall), LSU CB Jalen Collins (33rd), Mississippi State LB Benardrick McKinney (39th) and Ohio State DT Michael Bennett (44th). I don't think Cincinnati touches Williams this early due to his recent DUI and Collins is recovering from foot surgery, so he's a risk too.
Bennett is the one you could make a real argument for. He fits a bigger position of need on the interior defensive line. Then again, he's more suited for a three-technique where Geno Atkins is currently entrenched. Bennett did play nose tackle at times in college, so maybe he could supplant the enigmatic Domata Peko.