The NFL Draft has concluded in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, and the first draft of the Zac Taylor era was completed.
In the words of Stefan from Saturday Night Live, this draft had everything: Trade ups, trade downs, offense, defense, and even a punter taken in the fourth round.
Going into Day 3, the Bengals still had some needs on defense that they needed to fill after only taking one defender in the first two days. In a move very unlike the Bengals, they packaged a some sixth round picks to move up twice, taking a quarterback and offensive lineman in the fourth round.
Here is a recap of Day 3 of the draft
- Round 4: QB Ryan Finley (104), DT Renell Wren (125), OL Michael Jordan (136)
- Round 6: RB Trayveon Williams (182), LB Deshaun Davis (210), RB Rodney Anderson (211)
- Round 7: CB Jordan Brown (223)
Zac Taylor: With his first draft under his belt, Zac Taylor has done a pretty good job. With potentially the exception of the Drew Sample pick, the Bengals did a great job targeting players that are well regarded across the league. However, there are sources that say Sample would not have been on the board much longer, which means that was a great pick if that is the case. Taylor even managed to trade up in the draft to take the players they were targeting, which is something the Bengals don’t do often if ever.
In years past, the Bengals fluctuate between reaching for combine stars or settling for conservative picks. In this draft, however, the Bengals picked up great value with most of their picks. ESPN’s Todd McShay called both Finley and Trayveon Williams steals, so the first few picks of Day 3 were great additions.
Overall, the young head coach had a great draft for his first year. If the draft is any indication of how the Taylor era is going to go, we’re off to a great start.
Brian Callahan: The Bengals’ new offensive coordinator was listed as a winner yesterday, and the same is true for Day 3. Not only did the Bengals pick up some great depth picks in the fourth round, but they traded up to get them. The Bengals grabbed Ryan Finley, Michael Jordan, Trayveon Williams on Day 3.
Now Callahan has a backup for Andy Dalton, for the offensive line, and for the backfield. While the starters on the offense won’t change a great deal from last year, the depth has improved dramatically.
Jeff Driskel: The Bengals surprisingly traded up six spots to get NC State quarterback Ryan Finley. The Bengals hardly ever trade up, and it shows that they were targeting Finley specifically. While Finley won’t compete for the starting job, he might be able to move up the depth chart to QB2.
Jeff Driskel had a great camp in 2018 to move to the number 2 spot, and even got to start when Andy Dalton suffered a season-ending injury. However, the coaching staff wasn’t really sure what to do with him, so he didn’t have much success.
Finley’s skill set is closer to Dalton’s, so Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan feel as if they won’t have to change play books if Finley enters the game. We’ll see how Finley does in training camp, but more likely than not he will be Dalton’s QB2.
Alex Redmond, Trey Hopkins, and Christian Westerman: The Bengals traded up yet again and drafted the man who replaced Billy Price at center at Ohio State. Michael Jordan began his collegiate career at left guard as a true freshman, and didn’t miss a single start in three years. He moved over to center last season after Price was selected by the Bengals in the first round. Not only did Jordan play both guard and center, but the 6’6”, 312 lb lineman could play tackle in a pinch.
The Bengals now have six interior offensive linemen, and there is no way they can keep all of them. They did recently extend tenders to Redmond and Hopkins, but the two undrafted players are on the chopping block. Their saving grace is that they play on the right side of the line, while Jordan plays on the left side. Westerman should be worried about his job security on the blind side, but we will see in camp how this will transpire.
Lou Anarumo: The Bengals did a good job moving up to get three picks in the fourth round, but spent only two of their first six picks in Rounds 1-4 on defense. Germaine Pratt was a good pick in the third round, and got someone who can contribute on the defensive line in Renell Wren. But other than that, most of the needs on defense went untouched. Granted, most of the needs on defense were depth more than anything, but the Bengals are going to have a difficult time finding any contribution from the crop of fifth and sixth rounders in the draft. Combine that with the bargain free agents the Bengals acquired in the offseason, Lou Anarumo is going to have his work cut out for him in his first year as a defensive coordinator.
When they finally addressed defense on Day 3, the Bengals picked a DL who will probably be a backup and a linebacker and defensive back that will be special teams players, if they see the field at all. Not much to work with if you’re Anamuro.