The Bengals were among all 32 NFL teams in attendance for LSU’s pro day on Wednesday.
Among the wealth of future NFL talent working out was running back Leonard Fournette, who the Bengals reportedly have significant interest in. That interest will only increase after Fournette weighed in at 228 pounds at his pro day, 12 pounds below his surprisingly high weight of 240 at the NFL Combine in March.
Fournette also did several agility drills and demonstrated his ability in the passing game by running a variety of routes out of the backfield or lined up as a receiver. One of the few knocks on Fournette is he didn’t catch many passes in college, so it’s good to see he at least has a feel for it.
But even if Fournette can’t catch a pass, his running skills will likely have him over the board at some point within the top 10. He should be off the board by the time Cincinnati goes on the clock at No. 9, but you can bet the Bengals would love to get him there.
Another Tiger to consider at No. 9 is safety Jamal Adams, who is having a pre-draft visit with the Bengals. But Adams is widely expected to be off the board at this spot. He’d be a great pickup here, even though the Bengals are set at safety.
George Iloka was fine last year, but Shawn Williams had a lot of bad stretches that could make taking Adams very feasible.
LSU’s loaded secondary also features cornerback Tre’Davious White projected as a first-round pick. However, the Bengals aren’t taking a corner in Round 1, and even if White falls into Round 2, he’s not someone the Bengals can afford to spend a high pick on with so many other pressing needs.
One Tiger who would greatly help the Bengals is center Ethan Pocic. A three-year starter at right guard and center, Pocic was one of the best offensive linemen in the SEC this past season while earning first team all-conference honors by the AP and coaches. He started at right guard mostly in 2014 before becoming the full-time center for the past two seasons.
Pocic would very likely be an upgrade over Russell Bodine. The former is projected to go sometime in the Round 3 range, so the Bengals could snag him with the No. 73 pick.
Outside linebacker Duke Riley became one of the top SEC defenders this past season, racking up 93 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Riley was also named team MVP at season’s end, and he’s projected to go in Round 2/early Round 3. The Bengals have more pressing needs to address, but he could be someone to watch for if he slips into Round 3-4.
Another LSU linebacker to watch for is Kendell Beckwith. A full-time starter in the middle for the past three seasons, Beckwith racked up 252 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss and eight pass deflections over his last 35 games. Beckwith dealt with injuries last season that caused him to miss three contests, which is part of why he’s projected as an early Day 3 prospect.
If the Bengals want more help along the defensive line, Davon Godchaux is also projected as an early Day 3 pick. The 6’3”, 310-pound Godchaux racked up 99 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss across 23 games over the last two seasons.
Cincinnati could certainly use another 3-technique behind Geno Atkins, and Godchaux may follow a similar path as a fourth-round selection. It just so happens the Bengals have two picks in that round this year.
The Bengals have a vacancy at wide receiver after former Tiger James Wright was unexpectedly waived. He was the fifth/sixth receiver, so his absence could allow another late-round receiver to take his spot, which is where Malachi Dupre could come in.
Dupre actually had great college production as a receiver though with 84 catches, 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns over the last two years. He did so while playing with a woeful quarterback situation, so he could be undervalued heading into this draft with a Round 3-4 projection.