One of the biggest pro days taking place this week is the Florida State Seminoles’.
Jimbo Fisher has built up a powerhouse in Tallahassee, annually producing a wealth of NFL talent. This year will be no different with as many as seven players being drafted, the best of whom being Dalvin Cook, who Bengals offensive coordinator was present on Tuesday to watch, according to Joe Reedy.
In 13 games for Florida State this season, Cook notched 1,765 yards on 288 carries (6.12 yards per carry) while hauling in 33 catches for 488 yards and scoring 20 times (19 rushing, 1 receiving). He’s FSU’s all-time leading rusher with 4,464 career yards and ranks 11th in NCAA history for rushing yards in a player’s first three seasons.
But while Cook is a great prospect, No. 9 overall is too high for a running back with character concerns. If somehow he were to fall into Round 2, then the Bengals might pounce on him, but don’t count on that happening; he’s a near first-round lock.
However, there is a Seminole who could make sense for the Bengals in Round 2 in Roderick Johnson. The 6’7”, 298-pound offensive tackle spent most of his college career on the blindside, which the Bengals need help at after Andrew Whitworth departed this offseason. Johnson is projected to go somewhere between Rounds 2-3, so taking him early in Round 2 might be fair value.
The same could be true of pass-rushing specialist DeMarcus Walker. Last season, Walker racked up 67 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, two pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and recovered two fumbles while playing defensive end. Among the honors Walker received for his big season include First-Team All-American by Walter Camp, AFCA and Sporting News, and ACC Defensive Player of the year. That came after Walker was already a stud during his junior season in 2015 at FSU. He racked up 58 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, nine sacks, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and grabbed one interception that season.
Walker is about the frame the Bengals prefer in their defensive ends at 6’4” and 280 pounds. He’s already bulky enough that the Seminoles would actually line him up inside on passing downs, ala Wallace Gilberry in Cincinnati’s defense. The Bengals badly need pass-rushers in this draft, so keep an eye on Walker after round 1.
For Day 3, Seminoles cornerback Marquez White could be someone to watch for if Cincinnati wants more depth there. White started in all 13 games in each of the past two seasons, racking up 50 total tackles, three interceptions and six pass deflections in that time (2015-2016). He’s projected to be drafted sometime on Day 3 in the Round 5-6 range, so it wouldn’t take much to draft him as the Bengals have eight Day 3 draft picks.
The same can be said for wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who is projected to be a late Day 3 selection. Rudolph put up nearly identical numbers over the past two years with 59 grabs for 916 yards and seven scores in 2015, followed by 56 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2016. Rudolph opted to bypass his senior season to enter the draft, but he’s not expected to go before Day 3. Rudolph is someone to watch for if Cincinnati wants more receiver depth and doesn’t get it earlier in the draft.
Which of the FSU prospects are you most interested in?