The Bengals managed to address their two biggest needs in the first two days of the draft by selecting an offensive tackle in Jonah Williams and a linebacker in Germaine Pratt.
In addition to those picks, Bengals fans also got a surprise when the Bengals selected tight end Drew Sample in Round 2. Sample is a capable player who will be a fitting replacement for Tyler Kroft, but the move was not what fans expected at that point.
Before drafting Sample, the Bengals traded back and added a 4th and a 6th Round pick. This gives the Bengals two 4th Round picks, one 5th, SIX 6ths, and a 7th for a grand total of 10 Day 3 picks. Although they may not use every pick, that still provides them with great opportunity to add key pieces to a roster that is strong at the top, but lacks depth.
Let’s run through some of the best available talent in the draft.
Prior to the draft the Bengals held private workouts for Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Jachai Polite, and Jaylon Ferguson — yet they came out for the opening rounds of the draft without selecting an EDGE. Expect that to change today.
One great option would be Jordan Brailford who posted a 10-sack season at Oklahoma State in 2018. Brailford is 6-3 250 and impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl just like Drew Sample and Germaine Pratt,
Boston College defender Wyatt Ray is similar to Brailford in both size and production. The 6-3 255 defensive end bolstered an impressive Eagles defense with 9 sacks last season. He has quickness, but may lack a bit of flexibility.
6-3 245 D’Andre Walker had 7.5 sacks in his first year as a starter for the Georgia defense this past season, He also had 13.5 sacks, proving he can have success defending both the run and the pass.
Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby saw his sack total drop from 11 to 7.5 in 2018, but improved in both total tackles and tackles for a loss. The 6-5 247 defensive end is another interesting prospect who had Day 2 buzz.
When I would watch film on Sweat at Ole Miss, my eye would often be drawn to the other side of the formation and 6-4 255 Gerri Green. Green did not put up any crazy number is college, but always seemed to be around the ball.
The Bengals don’t really need a defensive tackle to stop the run, but they could use another defensive tackle who can rush the passer. Most of those players went pretty quickly. The best remaining option is Daniel Wise. The 6-3 290-pound Wise had 5 sacks in each of the last two seasons and had some flashes at the Senior Bowl.
He is not a sack-man, but it is worth nothing that the Bengals had a workout for 6-3 305 Clemson defensive tackle Albert Huggins. Huggins of course was line-mates with 3 2019 1st Round picks at Clemson.
Despite poor testing results, it is still baffling to see Mack Wilson sill on the board heading in to Day 3. Much like Bengals linebacker Malik Jefferson last year, Wilson was seen as a potential 1st Rounder early in the process. He has impressive ball skills and is worth a pick on Day 3.
Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman is also still available despite early Day 2 hype. Cashman posted a 104 tackle season for the Golden Gophers in 2018.
Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill and his teammate Te’von Coney are both productive linebackers who have unexpectedly fallen to Day 3. Tranquill moves very well and Coney posted over 100 tackles last season.
Speaking of production Ben Burr-Kirven posted a ridiculous 176-tackle season for Washington in 2018 and backed it up with some really nice workouts. How do you not take a guy like that?
Two somewhat local options are Buffalo linebacker Khalil Hodge and Akron linebacker Ulysses Gilbert III. Both are very talented players who could thrive as role players in the NFL.
The Bengals are pretty deep at cornerback after drafting two last season, signing Darqueze Dennard’s presumed replacement, and then going ahead and signing Dennard after all.
Still there is an incredible amount of talent available at the position, including my top graded cornerback in Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye. Ohio State’s Kendall Sheffield, Houston’s Isaiah Johnson, Notre Dame’s Julian Love, and USC’s Iman Marshall are also highly acclaimed players.
James Madison’s Jimmy Moreland intercepted 18 passes in his collegiate career including a monster 8-pick season in 2017. That has got to get a guy drafted.
Boston College cornerback Hamp Cheevers has the skill to be one of the top cornerbacks in the class, but is on the smaller side at 5-9. He has a skill set that could translate to a slot corner position, where his height would not matter as often as long as the coaching staff schemed to keep him out of trouble,
Hamp Cheevers looking good on the deep ball vs a bigger receiver pic.twitter.com/ChpHRPKpNB— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) March 11, 2019
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was my top ranked safety and was projected by many as a 1st Round pick, and yet he remains on the board heading into the 4th Round (potentially due to non-football issues). He can do everything, from the deep field zone to covering wide receivers in the slot. It is a real mystery why he remains at large.
Gardner-Johnson reading routes and making plays pic.twitter.com/ZLt1FPCtCi— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) April 10, 2019
Alabama safety Deionte Thompson was highly acclaimed as a well and had first Round whispers. He is best in the deep field zone and would provide depth to the position for the Bengals.
Boston College’s Lukas Denis and North Alabama’s Chris Johnson are both versatile players who have the ability to play corner as well as safety. Johnson specifically has the potential to cover big players in the slot which makes him very intriguing.
The Bengals already addresses the tackle position in Round 1, but they would be wise to add another player at the position which lacks depth.
6-7 315 David Edwards is a little stiff and awkward in his kick-step, but with a little refinement the Wisconsin tackle could develop into an excellent player. South Carolina tackle Dennis Daley would also be a great depth/developmental option in the later round. He is 6-6 324 and moves pretty well for his size.
The Bengals have pretty decent depth at the guard position, but Arkansas interior lineman Hjalte Froholdt is worth consideration. He gets great push int he run game and plays with a lot of aggression.
The Bengals could use an upgrade at the quarterback position and there are still some good ones on the board.
Buffalo signal caller Tyree Jackson has consistency issues, but an excellent arm. Brett Rypien from Boise State played in a pretty complex offense and won a lot of games for the Broncos. Finally, Auburn trigger-man Jarrett Stidham has an excellent arm and shows great ball placement,
Each could be in play for the Bengals on Day 3.
Tyree Jackson: confirmed zip pic.twitter.com/F0FmYTHo7T— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 24, 2019
The biggest (literally and figuratively) name left on the board is Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler. The 6-6 pass-catcher and was seen by many analysts as viable Round 1 option.
Although he tested very poorly, Georgia’s Riley Ridley is an excellent route runner. He is comparable to Cooper Kupp who Zac Taylor coached with the Rams. This makes him an intriguing option if the Taylor is looking for someone to fill that role.
Auburn wide receiver Darius Slayton and Missouri wide receiver Emanuel Hall are both excellent deep threats and Gary Jennings Jr. made a career out of catching long bombs at West Virginia. All could be excellent options to give the Bengals a John Ross insurance policy as they could fill a similar role.
Nebraska wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. and Buffalo wide receiver Anthony Johnson are the kind of players who you need to see to understand. They is not particularly big or fast, but have has a knack for getting open and making plays.
Stanley Morgan Jr.— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) July 17, 2018
•Eat grass/take away DB’s cushion, attack square threatens 2-way go
•Change pace, get on toes + accelerate out
•Lateral agility + wipe away hands
•Fighting to stack shields DB from vertical catchpoint + affords real estate for ball placement beneath #’s pic.twitter.com/gjVnfNzGsN
And now it’s time for the obligatory Hunter Renfrow mention. Renfrow first caught my eye two years ago when I was watching Clemson to see the great Deshaun Watson throwing to his star wide receiver Mike Williams, but I noticed that when the Tigers were desperate to convert a first down it was Renfrow, not Williams who they targeted. This level of trust that Watson had for him speaks volumes.
Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill may be the most complete back remaining in the draft. While Ohio State’s Mike Weber is an excellent pass catcher, pass blocker, and has some short yardage ability and Temple’s Ryquell Armstead is a good early down back, Hill provides both.
Bengals fans may not like seeing ”J. Hill” on the back of a jersey, but as long as the team doesn’t assign him #32, I’m sure they will get over it quickly.
After drafting a tight end in Round 2, the Bengals don’t have any reason to consider drafting another, so despite the fact that another excellent blocking tight end with pass game upside like Foster Moreau remains on the board, it’s a Foster Mor-no from me.
Most intriguing options for the Bengals
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a multi-talented player who could be a great moving piece in a defense. A creative defensive coordinator will be able to find uses for him and although he is technically a safety, he could be an eventual replacement for Dennard at slot corner.
Mack Wilson is shockingly still available. Although he is short of certain athletic thresholds, he made a lot of plays on the pass game in college. His ball skills from the linebacker position and ability to read the quarterback should put him in play in the coming rounds.
The Bengals looked hard at pass rushers leading up ton this draft and Jordan Brailford is the best remaining. He provides them with a rotational player and an option in case Carl Lawson is slow to return from injury.
Losing Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, and Andre Smith the Bengals lack depth at offensive tackle. Wisconsin’s David Edwards has huge upside to develop into an eventual starter down the line.
Ben Burr-Kirven has simply absurd production this past season and would be a great pickup as we enter the later rounds. The Bengals already drafted a linebacker, but depth at the position was a major issue in 2018 so it would be smart for them to double-dip.