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Bengals 9 for 9 NFL Draft Series: Honorable mentions for No. 9 overall pick

We break down the nine players most worthy of the No. 9 pick, but start with some players who are left on the outside looking in.

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Over the next nine days leading up the 2017 NFL Draft, we’re doing a ‘9 for 9’ series making the case for nine different players for the No. 9 pick. We’ll go over why they deserve to be drafted there, and then why the Bengals may actually be better off passing on them.

As you can imagine, it was a tough list to cut down to just nine players, and there were some good names of players who just barely missed the cut. The most obvious of which will be Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.

Despite being a popular mock draft target at various points this offseason, Charlton just doesn’t have enough production over his career to warrant being a top-10 pick. He had flashes of being a top-10 pick as a senior, but it wasn’t enough that the Bengals should gamble on him at No. 9, especially with Tennessee’s Derek Barnett likely being available at that spot.

Another player just missing the cut was Washington wide receiver John Ross. He’s been gaining steam in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean Ross is actually worth a top-10 pick.

The biggest issue with Ross, and why he missed our cut, was that his durability and health is a major question mark entering the draft. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery that could cause him to miss part of training camp and even the preseason. He also suffered a torn ACL in college, and it’s not like the Bengals have had good luck with injury-prone prospects.

A healthy Ross is more than worthy of the No. 9 pick, though the Bengals have enough firepower at wide receiver that this isn’t a position of need in the top 10, especially when said player has such a rough injury history.

Also missing the cut were the big three at offensive tackle in this year’s draft. Alabama’s Cam Robinson, Utah’s Garett Bolles and Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk are viewed as the top three tackle prospects in this draft, though experts rank them in varying orders.

The one consensus among those three is none of them are worthy of the No. 9 pick. This is easily one of the weakest tackle classes in recent memory, and that’s unfortunate news for a Bengals team needing help there. Cedric Ogbuehi was bad enough that Cincinnati should look to draft a new left tackle if one worthy of a top-10 pick were available, but there is no clear-cut upgrade in this draft.

In addition to the honorable mentions who just missed the cut, we also cut out several players who are essentially locks to be off the board by the time Cincinnati is on the clock. That includes Texas A&M pass-rusher Myles Garrett, who is widely expected to the the No. 1 overall pick.

You’ve also got LSU safety Jamal Adams, who some think is the best overall prospect in this draft, and he’s not falling to No. 9. Neither is Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who the Bengals could certainly use, but it looks like he won’t even make it out of the top five of this draft.

Be sure to check back at Cincy Jungle over the next nine days as we unveil the nine players worthy of the No. 9 pick.

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