It’s game time. It is time to make a lot of young, talented football players, who are chomping at the bit to play in the NFL, very happy. Yes it is draft week, and all the hype leading up to it. Who will go in the first round? Who is the top quarterback pick? Where will Johnny Football end up? Will the Texans trade out of the number one overall spot? These are questions plenty of GM’s, owners, coaches, and media would like to know the answers to. Draft day, however, is also about building for the future. Yes, there is top tier talent in picks 1-32, but there is just as much talent in picks 33-50 and beyond. With the Cincinnati Bengals sitting with the 24th overall pick, they are thinking about two things, do we have a dire need, and who is the best person available?
These two questions can be answered simultaneously at 24. Do they have a dire need? Some say defensive end, some say quarterback, and just about everyone else is saying defensive back. This is enough information to make anyone’s head spin. Perfect scenario is one of these top 15 prospects comes along that is a dire need, falls to 24, and the Bengals snatch them up.
With all that said, the bulk of Bengals players came from rounds 2-7, and some, like Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict, went undrafted. With so much emphasis from Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr., and the rest of the NFL draft world on the first round, it is imperative to remember, this team has some absolute players that came from the later rounds.
With examples all over the place of Carlos Dunlap, Gio Bernard, Geno Atkins, Marvin Jones, Andy Dalton, Domata Peko, Brandon Thompson and on and on and on. This year should be no different, with an absolute bevy of talent pooling in the later rounds.
Now let’s not get carried away, rounds 6 and 7 have traditionally been for developmental players and the higher rounds for guys who are ready to make an impact now. The Bengals have traditionally ran the table when it comes to the later rounds, and given their track record of the past few years, they are putting just as much emphasis on these rounds as the first round.
With draft day rapidly approaching, teams are going to be reaching for that next big name, and rightfully so. With the Bengals publically committed to the success of Andy Dalton, a quarterback in the first round is not going to happen, and may not happen in rounds 2-7. Many draft experts, including Mel Kiper Jr. believe the Bengals will select a quarterback as high as round 3, going with an A.J. McCarron from Alabama. Draft day is an exciting day for new prospects, fans, and the media. With all the excitement that is the first round starting Thursday May 8, the later rounds are ones to pay attention to, because most of the Bengals heavy hitters were found hidden in later rounds.