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Overrated and underrated Bengals draft targets

We took a look at some of the names being linked to the Cincinnati Bengals in this year’s draft and wonder which ones truly provide value.

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At this time of year, everyone has their specific tastes when it comes to prospects and the possibility of a team landing players in the draft. Some can’t-miss prospects have all pundits on board, be it novices or professionals, while many others remain polarizing in certain circles.

The Cincinnati Bengals are in an interesting situation when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Even though the club holds three picks in the top-75, we’re not totally sure if the team is going to go for a perceived need, or opt for the “best player available” strategy.

There are some areas on the roster that need an influx of youthful talent. Offensive line, linebacker, defensive end, running back and wide receiver are at the top of the list, but the team has managed to do just enough in the months leading up to the draft to potentially eliminate huge needs.

On the defensive line, the team re-signed Wallace Gilberry, while also striking an unexpected trade for Jaguars defensive end, Chris Smith. Kevin Minter signed a one-year deal as a short-term solution to the middle of the defense, while Brandon LaFell returns on a two-year deal, seemingly as a solution opposite of A.J. Green.

Be it through workouts and visits, or mock drafts, Cincinnati has a number of players they have been connected to in the months preceding the April festivities. On this week’s Orange and Black Insider, Connor Howe, Scott Schulze and I discussed which prospects—who’ve been linked to the team—appear to be either underrated or overrated.

We considered the player, their college production and if their talent appears to be congruent with which round each player has been pegged to the Bengals. While we agreed on many facets, we also disputed certain profiles of players and their potential (mis)fit with the team.

On defense, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and Michigan defensive end, Taco Charlton were all on the table for discussion. As we looked on the offensive side of the ball, the skill positions were our focus. Receivers like John Ross and JuJu Smith-Schuster were discussed, while Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Alabama tight end O.J. Howard also provided an interesting discussion.

When talking about these players and if they are over or underrated, it’s all about when Cincinnati may pick them. For the most part, we agreed that many of these aforementioned players were overrated in some capacity, be it in a small or large degree. However, with the team coming off of a six-win season, might a slight reach be understandable if it yields an immediate impact player?

That, of course, leads us to a subsequent question of if Marvin Lewis and his staff would actually let any of these, or a myriad of other possibilities, play early on. An interesting crossroads appear for the 2017 Bengals. Lewis has a spotty track record when it comes to playing rookies right away, but the team has shown an interest to get younger and faster at some positions this offseason.

Which incoming rookies do you feel are either overrated or underrated when it comes to ones linked to the Bengals?

Check out the audio link of the segment via SoundCloud.

If you can’t join us live for The Orange and Black Insider, you can watch our material here at Cincy Jungle and on YouTube, as well as listen to the audio by subscribing to our SoundCloud and iTunes accounts. You can also get in touch with us by emailing or reach out on Twitter @BengalsOBI.