By most accounts, the Bengals had a very good if not great draft this year. It's hard to say exactly how each individual person will pan out, but, the players the Bengals took seem to fit needs and provide potential. However, projecting how each individual player will pan out is exactly what Chase Goodbread tried to do in his projection of the top 100 NFL rookies of 2016 on NFL.com.
Bengals rookies made three appearances on this list, which is about average for most teams. It wasn't particularly surprising which Bengals rookies made this list, although you might be a bit surprised in which order they were ranked in relation to other NFL rookies.
27. WR Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals: With two receivers lost to free agency, the Bengals need help from Boyd from Day One, or else A.J. Green draws too much safety help.
The most interesting aspect of this placement is the fact that Boyd was listed ahead of two first round wide receivers. Ultimately, he's the fourth receiver listed, which is impressive as he was the seventh receiver taken in the draft.
The two first round receivers ranked lower than Boyd are Texans receiver Will Fuller (ranked 35) and the first receiver taken in the Draft, Browns receiver Corey Coleman (50). Fuller, like Boyd, is projected to be a complementary player for now as the No. 2 option behind a star receiver. In Fuller's case that's the dynamic DeAndre Hopkins who broke out in 2015 with 111 catches for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns. In Boyd's case that's the long time star A.J. Green who won't soon be overtaken as the team's No. 1 receiver.
The quarterback situation is also particularly notable here, as Fuller will be working with incoming free agent Brock Osweiler, while Boyd will be working with established franchise quarterback, Andy Dalton. Regardless Boyd coming in on this list at No. 27 shows analysts believe he can make an impact in Cincinnati fast.
William Jackson III
37. CB William Jackson III, Cincinnati Bengals: There wasn't a more productive cornerback in college football last year, and Bengals veterans at the position will have every reason to look over their shoulders.
Jackson comes in on this list behind Jalen Ramsey (7), Vernon Hargreaves III (8), and Eli Apple (24). Those players just happen to all be the cornerbacks drafted ahead of him as well in this year's Draft. He's also listed a couple of spots ahead of the selection that followed him in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Steelers' pick, Artie Burns (44). That's particularly notable because the Chiefs' third round cornerback, KeiVarae Russell actually ranked higher on the last than Burns, coming in at 41.
The one thing that may have kept Jackson from ranking higher than Hargreaves and Apple, despite his undeniable talent and production, is the fact that the Bengals' cornerback position is so crowded already. Jackson will be competing against former first round picks in Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard for a starting spot at cornerback. This could bring the best out in each player, but it could also potentially suppress Jackson's talent in his rookie season.
52. DT Andrew Billings, Cincinnati Bengals: He fell in the draft because he's not expected to play on third down, but he'll make enough of a difference on early downs to merit listing here.
The Saints' Sheldon Rankins (4) and the Lions' A'Shawn Robinson (36) were the only two defensive tackles ranked ahead of Billings on this list, despite 16 players at that position being taken ahead of him in the 2016 NFL Draft. For him to make the top 100 list at all shows just how much of a steal the impressive defender out of Baylor was at pick No. 122 overall. Playing next to Geno Atkins will surely help his ability to develop into an effective starter, but the lack of competition behind the starting spot and the fact that Domata Peko will be 32 in November means that he has a chance to accomplish what few Bengals rookies have a chance to do: make a significant impact in his first season.