Earlier this offseason, I examined the Bengals' Draft history and concluded that there would be a good chance that the Bengals will trade back in this year's Draft.
Marvin Lewis seemed to agree with that notion in his press conference on Tuesday. The Bengals' Draft strategy has always been to pick players that fit in their schemes, whether on offense, defense or special teams. And because they're not the type of team that swings for the flashiest picks in the Draft, but rather the type of team that looks for the top player on their board, the quantity of picks in each Draft is very important.
Ultimately, the Bengals' front office, as evidenced in years past, highly values depth, and it seems to take pride in having the most talented and deepest roster in football. Without making at least eight selections in each year's Draft, it would be very hard to continue to accumulate this depth, especially after losing several players in free agency.
Marvin Lewis addressed his team's not having any compensatory picks and the possibility of making some trades in the Draft in his Tuesday press conference.
"The impact of [not having compensatory picks] is that after the draft we're going to have to compete for some more college free agents, because we don't have any extra picks at this point. Obviously during the draft we could gain some picks by moving around a little bit, and maybe that's something we do. We'd like to continue to gain some depth on the football team, and those guys you pick the third day of the Draft have an opportunity to really make an impact, and in our opinion, have future upside, so if we're able to slide around a little bit [and] maybe gain some more [picks], that would be [a] positive."
This doesn't necessarily guarantee that Cincinnati will make a trade, whether up or down, in the Draft. There's a very good chance the Bengals will stay put in the first round and take the best player on their board with the 24th pick; Lewis seemed to reject the notion of trading up in the Draft later on in the press conference.
But making a trade down, whether in the first round, or at another point in the Draft, makes a lot of sense. Though they don't have any glaring needs, the Bengals will need to draft players at several positions, and the only way the team will be able to fill every hole will be with additional Draft picks. Whether it's taking a running back late in the Draft to prepare for the potential loss of Giovani Bernard or Rex Burkhead in 2017, selecting A.J. Hawk's successor after his release, filling the voids on the roster left by Wallace Gilberry, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson, or grooming Domata Peko's eventual replacement, there are plenty of routes Cincinnati can go.
But with only seven picks, it would be hard to address every current and future need or want. Trading down in the Draft would make a lot of sense for the Bengals.