The Champs – LSU & Alabama
Pound for pound LSU will produce more first and second rounders next year than most will produce in a five year span. Depending on how Cincinnati’s season finalizes itself, any number of the Bayou Bengals could move up river. If disastrous enough, outside linebacker Barkerious Mingo could be the Bengals first round selection, but as a top ten selection at this point, Cincinnati would have to really fall below expectations in order to bring the big man to the Queen City. Free safety Eric Reid is the top prospect at his position and an expected mid-rounder. Chris Faulk is a huge talent that could replace Andre Smith if he doesn’t ‘wow’ in his contract year, but with a draft class loaded with capable offensive tackles, Faulk would be a surprise in stripes. Rather, don’t forget about ‘The Honey Badger’, Tyrann Mathieu who could slip into the early second round. With several other names less likely to catch the Bengals’ eye, most of LSU’s draft stock should be expended by the end of the second round, but running back Spenser Ware could be a player to watch also, and might become an under-the-radar name if he falls into the fourth round or lower. Running back is still questionable position for the Bengals, and with BenJarvus Ellis-Green signed for $9 Million over three years ($4 Million guaranteed), Bernard Scott could stand to be upgraded if he tanks this season.
Alabama has a stout offense line, offering up guards Barrett Jones and Chase Warmack as well as offensive tackle DJ Fluker to very early rounds, but the Bengals are likely more interested in potential sliders like running back Eddie Lacey and free safety Robert Lester. Keep your eye on the Rey Maualuga / Vontaze Burfict aspect of this season as it plays out. If Burfict shows any degree of promise as a starter, inner linebacker Nico Johnson might become a very targeted second rounder. Nick Saben has a penchant for crafting linebackers into gods, which may make CJ Mosely worth checking out as well.