For fans of many NFL franchises, the fun of the offseason starts at the onset of free agency in early March. For the Who Dey faithful, however, it’s the NFL Draft that brings the most anticipation from fans because of the Bengals’ emphasis on the importance of the event.
This particular draft brings more excitement than usual for those associated with Cincinnati. Sure, the disappointment of a six-win season still stings, but having top picks in each of the rounds, and a collection of 11 total picks should keep fans glued to the tube throughout the weekend.
Many names have been linked to the team at this point—particularly in the first two rounds. Some of the names bring hesitancy, for a variety of reasons, while others breed excitement to contribute to a possible turnaround this year.
On this week’s Orange and Black Insider, Scott Schulze, Connor Howe and I talked with draft expert, Joe Goodberry. Aside from being one of the most trusted sources when it comes to the Bengals and the NFL Draft on Twitter (@JoeGoodberry), you can also catch him on ESPN Radio 1530 in Cincinnati with James Rapien.
Here are some of the highlights of the interview with Joe this week.
Anthony Cosenza: Joe, from what I gather on your Twitter account, you are all in on Corey Davis in this draft. I’m a bit more on Mike Williams because he seems to be a bit more pro-ready. I think there might be a little more upside with Davis—people have their favorites—why Davis for you?
Joe Goodberry: A few reasons. I think Davis is a better route-runner, I think he’s much more athletic. He moves, for a guy as big as he is, much more fluid and athletic than you would expect. We see this every week with A.J. Green—Davis moves like a guy much smaller than his actual size (6’2”, 215 pounds). He looks like Chad Ochocinco in his routes and his cutting. After the catch, he’s about as good as you can get for a college prospect.
The reason I like him more for the Bengals than Mike Williams, and I do like Mike Williams, it’s just that Mike Williams was the A.J. Green of the Clemson offense. You may say, “well, that’s not a bad thing”, but Green gets a lot of those one-on-one targets, he may not be totally open, but Andy Dalton says “okay, I’m going to throw it to him, regardless”. He gets a lot of those throws his way where he isn’t necessarily open. I don’t think he’d get those same opportunities with the Bengals—I think those opportunities are maybe, five, six times a game and those go to A.J. Green right now. So, for fit, I like Corey Davis for the Bengals. I even like John Ross.
Scott Schulze: Initially, you were high on the Bengals taking Leonard Fournette at No. 9... what is it that people like me are missing with him as an elite prospect? What can you tell us about Fournette that could sway us into liking the pick, if the Bengals were to go that way?
JG: The answer is a bit more nuanced. I think the Bengals probably like Fournette and I think he could definitely be an option at No. 9 for them—I don’t love Fournette. I do think Joe Mixon is better, I think Christian McCaffrey is a better running back, I think Dalvin Cook is a better running back than Fournette—especially for fit with the Bengals. The comparisons with Jeremy Hill and Fournette are going to be there because of the school (LSU), but it’s also because they’re running out of the same offense.
It’s I-Formation, follow the fullback, power-run schemes. A lot of their runs, if you go back and watch Hill’s tape, they’re breaking through eight in the box and breaking it off 60 yards and maybe they just have to break one arm tackle from a defensive back along the way. I do think Fournette is a little more powerful (than Hill), I do think he’s faster and maybe a better athlete, but the same strengths and weaknesses are there for Fournette as there are for Jeremy Hill.
Connor Howe: You’ve been on that team that the Bengals should be open to taking a quarterback, are there any guys, after you’ve looked at the film, that “this guy is worth the No. 9 pick, even though we have Andy Dalton?”
JG: I wouldn’t be confident in taking any of them at nine—my argument was more that they should be open to looking. When you hear Marvin Lewis say, “Everything is on the table, except for quarterback”, that rubbed me the wrong way because I feel like the only way you’ll actually upgrade your team... should look at quarterback.
If you’re the Bengals and the Panthers, you’re not going to be there (the top-10 of the draft) too often. I’m not saying the Panthers should upgrade from Cam Newton, I’m not saying the Bengals should upgrade from Andy Dalton—but, if a guy was there and you’re not going to pick top-10 for the next five years, hopefully, it may be worth that potential.
The only guy who may be worth it this year is (North Carolina’s) Mitch Trubisky. And, I’m not sure I feel confident in saying he’s going to be better than Andy Dalton. He may be Andy Dalton, and for a lot of teams, they’ll say “that’s good enough”.
Here is the SoundCloud audio link of the interview!
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