Each year as the NFL Draft rolls near, both Dave Lapham and Dan Hoard, the Bengals radio guys, reveal their predictions for the Bengals’ first round selection. The picks are revealed in their podcast a couple days before the draft and provide fans a good feel for what direction the Bengals are looking. Lapham has tight relationships with many on the Bengals’ staff — and across the NFL — and players give him an insider’s view of the organization. As a result, his predictions are pretty much dead on each year.
This is good news for fans, who get a preview of what the Bengals will do in the first round of the draft. But is this good news for the Bengals? Is he leaking too much proprietary draft information that other teams can use against the Bengals?
Lapham predicted the Bengals would select guard Kevin Zeitler. The Bengals traded down and passed on David DeCastro to select Kevin Zeitler.
Lapham predicted the Bengals would defy convention and draft Tyler Eifert if he was still available, despite starting tight end Jermaine Grehsam having two more years on his contract. The Bengals selected Eifert.
Lapham predicted the Bengals would select cornerback Darqueze Dennard, and said that Russell Bodine would be a target in the draft. The Bengals did select Dennard with their first round pick, and traded up to select Bodine in the draft as well.
Lapham predicted the Bengals could reach for the injured offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. That is exactly what the Bengals did.
Lapham said the Bengals were targeting a group of three wide receivers (Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, and Josh Doctson), and expected Will Fuller to be the one remaining at pick 24, and be the one the Bengals selected. Armed with this information, the Texans traded up to 21 to select Fuller. At pick 22 the Redskins selected the third wide receiver from that trio, Doctson. At pick #23, for good measure, the Vikings grabbed wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Lapham also mentioned if the Bengals were to miss on the wide receivers, they would select William Jackson III, which is who they selected.
Lapham said the Bengals were going to draft John Ross since they missed on the speed receiver Will Fuller in 2016. He said they may trade down to select defensive end Derek Barnett (or Charles Harris or Takkarish McKinley, if Barnett was gone). The Bengals didn’t trade out of the ninth overall pick, and just as Lapham foretold, the Bengals selected Ross. Cincinnati also followed through in Lapham’s defensive end prediction, by using both their third round pick and fourth round pick on edge players Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson.
Lapham announced that the Bengals would draft center Frank Ragnow with the 21st overall pick, who was widely seen as an early to middle Round 2 guy by many in the mock draft community. He also hinted that Billy Price would be the backup pick. Knowing that Ragnow wouldn’t get past the Bengals at 21, the Lions selected him just in front of Cincinnati at pick No. 20. The Bengals then drafted Price, who Lapham had pegged as their backup plan for the pick.
It’s one thing if an outsider such as you or I correctly read the writing on the wall and are able to pick who the Bengals will draft, but when an employee with exclusive information divulges that to the world, it’s akin to “insider trading.” Based on his track record, Lapham is certainly getting accurate information from good sources, which he is publicly airing. It certainly puts the team at a disadvantage during the draft when your draft plans and intentions are announced before the draft and known by the rest of the league.
Another example of this goes back to 2008, although I’m not sure if Lapham was involved. Back in 2008 it was widely known the Bengals were drafting a defensive player, and had their sights set on defensive ends Sedrick Ellis and Derrick Harvey. The Saints traded up from 10th overall to the seventh pick to get in front of the Bengals to draft Ellis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Jaguars followed suit, jumping up to pick number nine so they could draft Harvey. With their top two targets taken right in front of them, the Bengals selected linebacker Keith Rivers.
Lapham’s first round picks:
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Put the team at a disadvantage