The Bengals did not just sit wait for their pick and make their selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. The team made multiple trades involving draft picks over the past year. How did those trades work out once the picks became players?
Chris Smith Trade
Before the start of last season the Bengals sent their 2018 seventh round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for defensive lineman Chris Smith. Smith looked very impressive as a pass rusher in the pre-season and ended up contributing as an inside/outside pass rusher during the season contributing three sacks.
Smith showed some promise, left for greener pastures (or greener paychecks) in free agency, The Jaguars used the pick to selected Wisconsin linebacker Leon Jacobs. Jacobs shows some promise and looks to compete for a roster position primarily by contributing on special teams as a rookie. This trade would look a lot better is Smith was not currently a member of the Cleveland Browns, but taking a shot on him was certainly worth a seventh-round pick.
Marquis Flowers Trade
The Bengals were planning on cutting Marquis Flowers towards the end of training camp in 2018, but instead sent him to the New England Patriots in exchange for a seventh round pick. The result was the best year of Flowers’ career. Flowers was a special teams and rotational player at the start of the season, but saw his defensive snaps increase over the course of the year and ended up starting a couple of games.
After only making 16 tackles in his entire career with the Bengals, he had 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his first season in New England, and the Patriots signed him for an additional year. The Bengals used this late seventh-round selection to take Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside. Woodside has a lot of promise. He will likely be the team’s third-string quarterback in 2018, but is could compete for the backup job in the near future.
It is easy to second guess this trade as Flowers found success in New England, but the Bengals were planning on cutting him and ended up drafting a player who has a good chance of developing into an important role with the team.
Cordy Glenn Trade
When the Bengals acquired Cordy Glenn from the Bills they exchanged first round picks, moving from the 12th pick to the 21st pick. The Bills also gave the Bengals their fifth-round pick (158th overall) in exchange for the Bengals’ sixth round pick (187th overall). The Bills did not use the Bengals’ first rounder, but instead packaged it with a couple of other picks to move up and select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen.
They used the sixth-round pick on Clemson wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. The Bills see Allen as a franchise quarterback and for better or worse, he will likely beat out AJ McCarron for the starting job sooner or later. McCloud has a good change of making the roster and could compete for playing time as the Bills are looking for someone to step up at wide receiver.
The Bengals get an established veteran left tackle in Glenn and than use the first-round pick to upgrade their offensive line further with Ohio State center Billy Price who will be a day one starter. They used their added fifth round pick on Virginia defensive tackle Andrew Brown.
Brown has a lot of upside and could give the Bengals the interior pass rusher they need. This trade worked out very well for the Bengals as they were able to find two starters on the offensive line and add a promising defensive tackle.
The Bengals had the opportunity to further upgrade their offensive line in the second round as Texas’ Connor Williams fell, but chose instead to trade the pick to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs moved up to the 46th pick in the second round and down to the 100th pick at the end of the third round.
The Bengals moved back to the 54th pick in the second round and up to the 78th pick in the third round (giving them back to back picks). The Chiefs addressed their needs on defense with Ole Miss defensive linemen Breeland Speaks and Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel.
Both players have some upside. The Chiefs will likely try to get Speaks on the field immediately while O’Daniel may fill a depth and special teams role initially. The Bengals used their second round pick on Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III.
Bates has great range and makes plays all over the field. He is likely to compete immediately for a role on the Bengals defense, at the very least in substitution packages.
They used their added third round pick on Malik Jefferson. The former Texas linebacker is a great athlete who had a great year for the Longhorns. Jefferson most likely will provide depth for the Bengals in year one, but could develop into an elite player with time. The Bengals clearly got the upper hand on this trade. They come away with two players who could be standouts on their defense in the near future.
The Bengals draft trades worked out very well for the team. They had a successful draft, which featured four picks that the team traded for. Price, Bates, Jefferson, and Woodside all seem to have bright futures with the Bengals.