The Cincinnati Bengals earned rave reviews with their selection of Darqueze Dennard in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. However, the next three rounds are where the Bengals have separated themselves from others by drafting solid players to create a deep roster.
Successful drafts in recent years have provided the Bengals with room to be flexible when it comes to “Day 2” of the NFL Draft. Instead of being forced to draft in order to fill dyer needs, Marvin Lewis and company can choose the best players available. Take a look at some of the talent Lewis and his regime have acquired during these mid rounds in recent years:
2013 – Giovanni Bernard (RB), Margus Hunt (DE) | 2012 – Devon Still (DT) | 2011 – Andy Dalton (QB) | 2010 – Carlos Dunlap (DE) | 2009 – Rey Maualuga (LB) | 2006 – Andrew Whitworth (OL)
2013 – Shawn Williams (SS) | 2012 – Mohamed Sanu (WR), Brandon Thompson (DT) | 2011 – Dontay Moch (DE) | 2010 – Jordan Shipley (WR) | 2009 – Michael Johnson (DE)
2013 – Sean Porter (LB) | 2012 – Orson Charles (TE/FB) | 2011 – Clint Boling (OL) | 2010 – Geno Atkins (DT) | 2008 – Anthony Collins (OL) | 2006 – Domata Peko (DT)
2013 – Tanner Hawkinson (OL) | 2012 – Marvin Jones (WR) | 2009 – Kevin Huber (P)
Those names are proof of the exceptional eye for talent the Bengals’ staff has, and why fans of the team should be ecstatic about Friday’s possibilities.
That leads us straight to the topic of quarterback. Rounds two and three are going to provide the Bengals with ample opportunities to draft a solid quarterback to sit behind Andy Dalton. The luxury in having the ability to draft such a project aids the Bengals in two different ways — to push Dalton and to provide a backup in case Dalton leaves next year or is injured. Even if Dalton re-signs after the year, the newly acquired quarterback could provide the Bengals with a trade chip down the road.
With plenty of talented QBs remaining, the Bengals will have lots of options: Derek Carr, Zach Mettenberger, David Fales, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brett Smith, Aaron Murray, Tom Savage, Logan Thomas and AJ McCarron. If Carr (highly doubtful) or Mettenberger are available in the second round, the Bengals might be willing to take a shot on drafting them. Otherwise, the stars align perfectly for the Bengals to take one of the many “second tier” quarterbacks in the third round.
Look for Cincinnati to address depth at the offensive or defensive line in the second round. They would love for Kony Ealy (DE, Missouri), Cyrus Kouandjio (OT, Alabama) or Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame) to be available with the 23rd pick in the second round. However, if Marqise Lee (WR, USC) were to still be on the board, Cincinnati would have quite the dilemma on their hands.
There is a strong chance that some (if not a large majority) of the QBs listed will be available in the third round as an influx of offensive linemen and wide receivers are taken in the second round. Look for Murray, Garoppolo, Savage and Thomas to be a few names thrown around when discussing Cincinnati picks on day two. Those three would provide an interesting backup plan to Andy Dalton.
Also, don’t be surprised to see Mike Brown break the norm with the willingness to trade back into the third round for another selection. The 2014 draft class is deep and the Cincinnati Bengals are perfectly equipped to make some impressive second day selections.
Final thought: Aaron Murray and Jimmy Garoppolo make the most sense for the Cincinnati Bengals.