The week of the NFL Draft is here, and the Cincinnati Bengals are crossing their T’s and dotting their i’s. At this point, they’re comfortable with where their draft board stands and should have a good idea of who they can draft late in the weekend based on their board.
Defense might be put on the back burner after an extensive free agency period addressing that side of the ball. If that’s the case, Stanford edge defender Casey Toohill and Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliott could be prime late-round targets for Cincinnati. The Bengals FaceTimed with both of them recently, per Justin Melo of The Draft Wire.
EDGE Casey Toohill has spoken to 20+ teams since the combine (tied w/ Simmons & Gay as most athletic LB via NextGen). Look for him to get drafted early Day 3.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 19, 2020
He's recently held pre-draft meetings over FaceTime w/ the #Titans, #Bengals, #Jets, #Panthers & #Cardinals among others pic.twitter.com/jurB37Sqnh
Adding to this, #NotreDame SAF Jalen Elliott has held pre-draft meetings over FaceTime with the #Bengals & #Lions recently. https://t.co/EbPCVg7Bjb— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 16, 2020
As Melo mentioned, Toohill tested as one of the better defenders at the NFL Combine. He was listed as a linebacker because he played outside linebacker in Stanford’s 3-4 scheme, essentially making him an edge defender. Toohill is the kind of player the Bengals have clearly been interested in this draft season, and his athleticism might be too much for the Bengals to pass on late in the draft.
Elliott is one of three Notre Dame defensive backs that should get drafted this week. What he lacks in straight line speed (4.8 40-yard dash), he makes up for in ball production. He recorded 15 pass deflections and six interceptions in his final two years in South Bend. He was also down at the Senior Bowl, so the Bengals got to know him somewhat there as well.
The Bengals’ need for edge depth is higher than you’d think but they also want someone who can stand up and player linebacker. There’s also a need for long-term depth at safety as well. Both Toohill and Elliott make sense on day three of the draft after the Bengals address other positions first.