Just like the Bengals were able to add defensive tackle Andrew Billings in the fourth round of last season’s draft because of injury concerns, Auburn pass rusher Carl Lawson was there yesterday for the taking and Cincinnati didn’t let him fall further in Round 4. After recording solid grades on Thursday and Friday, being able to grab another player with a second round grade on Day 3 was considered a homerun by many.
And not only did they get the second edge defender they were looking for, the Bengals also shored up the inside with their third and last selection of the fourth round, taking Michigan tackle Ryan Glasgow with the 138th pick. The brother of Lions guard Graham Glasgow, Ryan offers insurance for the team just in case Billings can’t live up to expectations.
With the pick they got from their Friday trade with the Vikings, Cincinnati took Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone, another burner for their offense. With his addition and that of John Ross, the Bengals now have six capable pass catchers on their roster.
Then, in the fifth round the Bengals picked the first kicker of the draft, Memphis standout Jake Elliott. While they had an obvious need after Mike Nugent struggled mightily last season, most people wondered if Elliott couldn’t have been had later on. In fact, the highest-ranked kicker of the class, Zane Gonzalez, from Arizona State, lasted until early in the seventh round, when he was picked by the Browns.
Cincinnati also added Utah tackle/center J.J. Dielman with their compensatory pick in the fifth - a reminder that Russell Bodine’s contract ends in 2018, maybe. Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans, who’s athletic and a track star was then added, followed by Houston triple threat and Swiss Army knife Brandon Wilson - whom they traded up into the sixth to get, and Buffalo tight end Mason Schreck in the seventh to finish off the night.
In all, the Bengals drafted 11 players and while the chances for some to make the roster are slim, as even head coach Marvin Lewis admitted that number of rookies is going to be hard to field, the team did pretty well at least on paper. Ross, running back Joe Mixon, edge rusher Jordan Willis and Lawson are all highly-regarded prospects with first-round pedigree, and the rest of the picks plugged nearly every hole on their squad. The offensive line could have been better addressed, but, it’s relatively safe to assume the Bengals have a plan.
Brandon Wilson is more than a cornerback
William Jackson III’s friend is a really fast man, but he developed as a weapon on special teams for the University of Houston and the Bengals liked him enough to spare one of their seventh round picks and trade up to grab him. Wilson seems like a nice addition at a late spot and somebody Cincinnati can use in many ways.
Brad Kaaya slides into the bottom of the sixth round
The Miami Hurricanes quarterback was viewed as a tier below of the top play callers in the draft, but for some pundits, he still has starting potential. Doubts about his athleticism were strong enough to make many teams pass on him, but the Lions saw a chance to groom him into Matthew Stafford backup and selected him with the 215th pick overall. The Bengals had met with Kaaya leading up to the draft.
Leonard Fournette gets his fullback
Tom Coughlin has been interested in returning to smash football since he’s gone back to Jacksonville, and after adding the LSU star with the fourth overall pick, the Jaguars grabbed his lead blocker of the future in the seventh-round with the selection they got from the Julius Thomas trade with the Dolphins.
Marquez Williams is huge, with 280 pounds to go with a 5’11” frame, and has all you want in an old-school football fullback: he was named the Hard Hitter of the Year on offense at University of Miami’s Annual Football Awards ceremony.
Jacksonville’s latest PR whiff
Seriously, what were they thinking? The Bengals seemed to handle Mixon’s selection better.
Jags' GM Caldwell on Dede Westbrook, accused of multiple domestic violence incidents: "...many of us have been accused of things."— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) April 29, 2017
Day 3 steals
From a deep class, there were many players who had to wait until the final day to hear their names called, and some teams will profit from this. Other than Kaaya and Lawson, Julien Davenport of Bucknell, the owner of one of the longest pair of arms in the draft and cousin of NBA player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, went to the Texans in the fourth round with the 130th pick, where he’ll have a chance to protect new quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins was also taken by Houston in the fourth. The 6-foot-4, 309 pound lineman has tons of athleticism and can play both nickel and three-technique, and had more than 10 sacks last season for eventual National Champions.
Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley was taken by the Browns with the 185th pick in the sixth round. He’s highly controversial as he's being charged for battery after allegedly striking a woman outside a bar just a few weeks ago. He was a likely second round pick, but, his coinciding arrest changed that dramatically. Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown has said that the charge "may not be something we can get comfortable with" and he could be cut, depending on how his misdemeanor charge plays out.
One league source told me of #Browns Caleb Brantley: "A coach at school told every team he talked to 'stay away even if undrafted.'''— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 29, 2017
Chad Kelly is your 2017 Mr. Irrelevant
The controversial Ole Miss quarterback and nephew of Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly will try to stick in Denver with the Broncos after being selected with last pick of the draft. John Elway, general manager of the Super Bowl 50 champions, called Kelly’s uncle to get a reference on the player they would be selecting.
John Elway on Chad Kelly’s issues: "I called his uncle and he said he's a good kid."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2017
NFL Network doesn’t care about the Bengals
NFL Network promises they will go to commercial for EVERY Bengals pick. 2/3 today ... commercial— Cincy Jungle (@CincyJungle) April 29, 2017
While some teams announced their picks from a golf course - I know, horrible, the International Space Station - awesome!, and the Indianapolis zoo - distasteful, in my opinion and Mike Mayock’s as well, the Bengals didn’t do anything special and NFL Network didn’t feel the need to show their early Day 3 picks.
Undrafted free agents
Teams usually start calling undrafted players even before the draft ends as some are highly coveted. The action following the last pick is frenzy, but luckily for you, you can catch up with it here as we’re tracking all of the Bengals’ undrafted free agent signings. Keep in mind, no undrafted signing is official until the Bengals say it is.