clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 positions Bengals shouldn't forget about in 2017 NFL Draft

The Bengals know as well as anyone that just because a position isn’t an immediate need, doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk about the Bengals’ need to shore up certain positions in the 2017 NFL Draft. In particular, many fans and analysts seems to be talking about the biggest, most obvious needs, such as an edge rusher, running back, linebacker and kicker. But, the Bengals have 11 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and have plenty of room to maneuver at multiple positions.

Over the years, the Bengals have had a bad habit of getting too comfortable at certain, seemingly stable positions, only to suddenly realize the position has become one of the weakest spots on the team. Most recently, it has happened at defensive end, making that position one of the biggest needs in the upcoming draft. But, the Bengals have a few other positions which might seem solid now, but could still use an injection of talent this year to keep things fresh.


It seems like the Bengals have no room for new safeties on the team. Starters Shawn Williams and George Iloka have performed well and are both under contract through 2020. Backups Clayton Fejedelem and Derron Smith have flashed potential at times and are under contract through 2019 and 2018, respectively. Still, it never hurts to build up some leverage at the position for future contract talks, especially when one of those contracts is for a player like Smith, who could very well become a breakout star if he is asked to fill in for an injury at some point and becomes too expensive to extend after 2018. Also, you should always be looking to get better, even when you have solid talent. So, why not look for impressive safeties if the value and timing are right?

Potential targets: Fish Smithson (Kansas), Rudy Ford (Auburn), Xavier Woods (Louisiana Tech)

Defensive Tackle

Although Geno Atkins is among the best at his position in the NFL, the Bengals do have an open spot next to him with Domata Peko signing with the Denver Broncos this offseason. The long-term plan appears to be Andrew Billings taking over at the starting spot, once he develops, while Pat Sims, Marcus Hardison, and DeShawn Williams hold down the backup spots. Then again, Billings lost his entire rookie season to a torn meniscus, so there is no guarantee he will be ready to start in 2017. Sims will be 32 in November, so the Bengals could also stand to get younger at the position. If the right defensive tackle falls to the Bengals at any point in the draft, they shouldn’t hesitate to pick him up.

Potential targets: Carlos Watkins (Clemson), Ryan Glasgow (Michigan), Nazir Jones (North Carolina)

Tight End

Tyler Eifert, when healthy, is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Behind him on the depth chart are Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah, both players who have flashed some potential but have failed to contribute consistently. The Bengals haven’t had two impact tight ends at the same time in years, and while the team has rarely used two tight end sets, maybe they would if they had the personnel to make it work. Considering Eifert’s injury history, it could be a good idea to make the effort to pick up a top player at this position. Right now, the team seems set at tight end, but that could all change in a heartbeat if they aren’t careful. And, it does seem like the Bengals are taking a look at a wide variety of tight ends, such as Clemson's Jordan Leggett and Drake's Eric Saubert.

Potential targets: O.J. Howard (Alabama), Jake Butt (Michigan), Jonnu Smith (Florida International)