One thing that Geoff Hobson, host of the podcast, brought up was “the key thing in the draft that seemed to energize the room.”
You had been working on this trade with Kansas City, I guess since Wednesday, and that really seemed to open things up for you when you slid down eight spots in the second round and were able to get up back in the third round at 78 where you ended up taking [Jessie Bates].
Hobson was referring the Day 2 trade that gave the Chiefs the Bengals’ 46th and 100th overall picks. In return, the Bengals moved down to take the Chiefs’ 54th pick in the second round and moved back up in the third round with the 78th pick, which gave the Bengals back-to-back picks at 77 and 78. As Hobson recollected, the Bengals took safety Jessie Bates with the 54th pick and linebacker Malik Jefferson with the 78th pick (after taking defensive end Sam Hubbard with the 77th pick).
What’s interesting here is that Hobson says the Bengals had been working on the trade since Wednesday prior to the draft, meaning it wasn’t based on the situation and who was off-the-board when the pick was approaching. The Bengals just wanted to get better-value picks and that’s why the trade was struck. Additionally, it sounds like Jessie Bates, who the Bengals selected in Round 2, was the team’s intended target as of Wednesday for Round 2, and the team thought they’d be able to get him with the No. 54 overall pick, not needing to use the No. 46 pick on him.
“We tried to analyze the draft for our needs and the players we were targeting,” Tobin said. “We felt like that trade fit us pretty good for what we were looking at and what the draft offered. We thought we could move down and still get the player that we had really focused on and that it improved our spot in the next round which allowed us—which we probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity. So we felt good about it.”
The Bengals had their sights set on Bates in the second round. So rather than reaching for him too early, the Bengals struck a trade with Kansas City. Even though they moved down in the second round, they still got the player they wanted with the added bonus of moving up 22 spots in the third round.
The fact that the trade took three days to work out shows how intentional the Bengals were about the players they were trying to take this year, many of them defenders, like Bates, Hubbard and Jefferson who Teryl Austin will plug into his new defensive schemes.
The Jefferson pick added some much needed depth and athleticism to the linebacker corps, which is something the team might have missed out on with the 100th overall pick. Without the trade, the Bengals would have had to choose between getting a great deal with Hubbard and getting the linebacker boost with Jefferson.
As Hobson went on to say, “you certainly get a good cut of player with Jefferson at 78 that you wouldn’t have got at 100.”