Marvin Lewis was in Orlando for the Owners meeting, so it comes as no surprise that the team had him take a short trip to visit Florida’s pro day while he was there.
One of the prospects Lewis seemed to keep his eye on was defensive tackle Taven Bryan. He has been popping up in the first round of a few mock drafts, and the Bengals really need a defensive tackle who can generate some pass rush next to Geno Atkins.
Bryan is bursting with athletic ability. He plays the position with speed that you rarely see out of a defensive tackle. However, he really needs to gain an understanding of the position.
It was clear at Florida that he just tried to be faster than his opponent. He didn’t have much of a technique or really understanding about what he needed to be doing to be productive. In the NFL he will have to learn that.
The Bengals could be an ideal landing spot for him. The team needs a player like him, but they already have Atkins, Ryan Glasgow, Andrew Billings and the recently signed Chris Baker. He could learn the position while being rotated in sparingly. He wouldn’t have the pressure of needing to play right away.
Bryan will likely try to improve on his Scouting Combine numbers that didn’t really show off his incredible athletic ability. They were good, but if he improved upon them then there is almost no chance that he would get out of the first round.
Lewis probably also took a look at the defensive back Duke Dawson. He is only 5’10” and a little over 200 pounds, but he plays the slot like an enforcer. He is great at getting his hands on receivers to reroute them. He isn’t the fastest corner to ever come out of Florida, but he has a great understanding for where he needs to be on defense.
The Bengals could take a nickel corner at some point during this draft. Darqueze Dennard is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and the team has already payed Dre Kirkpatrick. William Jackson also looks like he will be worth whatever big contract he’ll get at the end of his deal.
This makes the notion of them paying Dennard as well very unlikely. The Bengals could use this chance to draft he potential replacement a season early.