This fills the need the Bengals felt they had at safety and a position the team had been searching for a new playmaker at since the NFL Scouting Combine. Bates had 177 tackles and 6 interceptions in 3 seasons in the ACC.
Former #WakeForest S Jessie Bates III, @PFF’s 11th-ranked safety and 115th-ranked overall player, lands with the #Bengals at pick No. 54.— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) April 28, 2018
He’s an aggressive, physical safety in the run game and could develop into a solid player in a two-high system.
Bates is a versatile safety who’s instinctive, someone who is drawn to the football and has excellent ball skills. The Bengals are looking for ball hawks after having one of the lowest interception rates in the NFL in 2017. Bates should help in that regard. An Indiana native, Bates just turned 21 in February and is thought to have a very high football IQ.
Bates likely won’t start on day one, but he can definitely be a role player on the defense in his rookie year. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will certainly dream up creative ways to use him and incorporate him into three safety looks.
Here’s an excerpt from his NFL.com draft profile:
Versatile safety option with the athletic ability to handle man coverage responsibilities in space and the instincts and ball skills to post ball production in zone coverage. Bates is more than willing as a hitter, but can get himself in trouble as an open-field tackler due to inconsistent pursuit angles and technique. Bates plays with energy and aggressiveness and is likely to fill a stat sheet with production thanks to his versatility and play traits. He should contribute early on defense and special teams and has a chance to become a good NFL starter.
The Bengals initially held the 46th overall pick coming into tonight, but traded the pick to the Chiefs along with the 100th overall pick. In addition to pick No. 54, the Bengals also got pick No. 77. The Bengals are now picking 54th, 77th and 78th tonight.
How do you grade the Bengals’ Round 2 draft selection?
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The Bengals’ remaining top draft needs are:
LB, DT, OT, OG, CB
Here’s a rundown of every pick the Bengals hold in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Bengals 2018 draft picks
NFL Draft schedule:
Rounds 2-3: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, April 27: (Round 2 - 7 minutes per pick, Round 3 – 5 minutes per pick)
Rounds 4-7: 12 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 28: (Rounds 4-6 – 5 minutes per pick, Round 7 - 4 minutes per pick)
What do you think of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Round 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?