The second day of the draft did not go entirely the way that Bengals fans would have predicted. Right before the Bengals’ first pick on Day 2, the Chiefs worked out a trade for the Bengals’ 46th and 100th picks in exchange for the 54th and 78th picks.
This worked out tremendously and the Bengals got exactly what they wanted. After taking Billy Price in Round 1 and going with defensive players in the second and third, who stands to benefit the most? Who has the most to lose? Here are our Day 2 winners and losers from the Bengals
Christian Westerman, Trey Hopkins, Cedric Ogbuehi, and Jake Fisher
Many were hoping that either Will Hernandez or Connor Williams would be on the board for the Bengals’ second round pick. While Hernandez was taken by the Giants with the second pick of the night, the Bengals could have taken Williams with the pick they traded to the Chiefs. Instead, the Cowboys took him four picks later, so the Bengals were forced to go safety in the second round. Or maybe that’s what they wanted all along.
As Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown started slipping, the possibility that the Bengals would nab another lineman kept growing as the Bengals approached back-to-back picks at 77 and 78. However, the Bengals picked two defensive players in Sam Hubbard and Malik Jefferson, so Brown fell to the Ravens with the 83rd pick.
The left side of the Bengals’ offensive line is shaping up, with Cordy Glenn setting up shop at left tackle, Clint Boling resuming left guard duty, and Billy Price poised to run the show at center. The right side of the line, however, is still going to be a dog fight during training camp.
While none of the above-mentioned players are going to be prancing through sunny meadows, their jobs just became a little easier. Hopkins and Westerman will still compete for the right guard spot while Ogbuehi and Fisher will have to fight for right tackle. But at least there won’t be a new glitch for them to have to work around. The Bengals could have made their lives a heck of a lot more difficult by adding more lineman. Instead, they went secondary with the 54th pick, so they can take it easy for now. There are a few other contenders on the roster for the right linemen jobs, and as of now the roles could go to anyone.
The addition of Jessie Bates to the safety position will help Austin with some new defensive schemes. If Austin puts Bates in the free safety role, he could move George Iloka and Shawn Williams around. Bates might even play with both Iloka and Williams on the field in three-safety sets, helping out the secondary and the linebacker corps.
Basically, the Bates pick has given Austin one key piece to install his own version of the defense. He now has the chance to put his fingerprint on the Bengals.
In total, three of the Bengals’ first four picks were on the defensive side of the football. Even though the offense struggled mightily compared to the defense in 2017, Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown are letting Austin create a brand new unit.
Ironically, the man who announced the Bengals’ 77th overall pick might eventually be muscled out by him.
The Bengals’ Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee is past his prime, and even though he took a surprising step forward in 2017, Johnson’s age will keep becoming a detrimental factor.
Its obvious that the Bengals want more out of their front seven. Last year, the Bengals took three defensive linemen, and took one more in 2018. They have phased out some older players like Will Clarke and Pat Sims in the past, so will Johnson be the next man out?
A year after adding Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson, they added another edge rusher in Hubbard. Obviously, Lewis wants the defensive line to get younger. There may not be room for Johnson on the roster after training camp... Or maybe even before it.
Jordan Evans, Hardy Nickerson Jr., and Brandon Bell
As mentioned earlier, Austin is leaving his mark on the defense by shaking up some schemes. Bates may come onto the field for some three-safety looks, thus eliminating the need for some linebacker spots.
More importantly, Malik Jefferson will join the Bengals with the 78th pick as the highest-drafted linebacker since Nick Vigil. Therefore, Evans, Nickerson and Bell are not likely to see much playing time in 2018. While they all found their way to the field thanks to numerous injuries, none of them were really that impressive. Jefferson, who might be given looks as Burfict’s stand-in as the season starts, will probably jump ahead of the Bengals’ young linebackers on the depth chart.