The NFL Draft is just over two weeks away.
Until then, we’re left to keep debating who the Bengals should take with the 21st overall selection.
ESPN’s Todd McShay took it a step further with his latest mock draft, where he went three full rounds. Here’s a look at who McShay projected the Bengals to take:
Round 1 (21): James Daniels, C/G, Iowa
Round 2 (46): Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Round 3 (77): Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State
Round 3 (100): Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
Daniels is the clear No. 1 center in this class and could help stabilize a shaky Bengals O-line. Vander Esch is versatile and has outstanding measurables for a linebacker. Nnadi’s poor combine performance hurt his stock, but he’s better on the field than his testing numbers show. He’d be a two-down run defender. Wilson has above-average ball skills and could compete for the No. 2 WR job opposite A.J. Green.
Daniels has become a very popular mock draft target for the Bengals, and for good reason. He’s regarded as one of, if not the best center prospect in this year’s draft, and that’s easily the Bengals’ biggest weakness right now.
Ironically, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has also been a popular mock draft target for Cincinnati, so getting him in Round 2 would be really nice value. Taking him at 21 would probably be a slight reach, but it would still be a nice upgrade to a very vulnerable linebacker group.
Florida State’s Derrick Nnadi would be a nice boost to the Bengals’ interior defensive line, and it would also give the team some security if Geno Atkins leaves in free agency next season.
The 6’1”, 300-pound Nnadi finished 2017 with 56 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 13 starts. He’s more of a run-stuffer that would be great to pair with Geno Atkins, but Nnadi is also able to play the three-technique.
Wide receiver isn’t really a need, but Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson is a very talented pass-catcher that would be a nice get with the final pick in Round 3. This past season, Wilson earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors by leading BSU with 83 receptions and 1,511 yards while scoring seven times.
Overall, I still like this haul for the Bengals. The first three picks were really solid, and Wilson is good enough to beat out Alex Erickson, Cody Core and Josh Malone to be one of the Bengals’ top 3-4 receivers next season.
If I had to grade this, I’d give it an B+. What say you?