Cincinnati Bengals’ Draft Logic

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Feb 19, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Marvin Lewis

speaks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams build for the future through the draft. That is no secret. Many analysts love to speculate what every single team is going to do during that draft process. The facts are straightforward. Like the NCAA Tournament, no single person can accurately predict the draft.

In the case of the Cincinnati Bengals, they have recently followed the mantra of, “Best Player Available,” particularly in the first round. The past two drafts have made this evident when the team selected Tyler Eifert and Darqueze Dennard in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Both of the aforementioned players didn’t fill immediate needs, nor did they contribute right away.  Eifert has been stuck behind Jermaine Gresham, and Dennard is still working his way up the ladder. But while neither were filled immediate needs, they were selected to eventually supplant the starters. Many speculated that Cincinnati was going to a run a lot of double tight end sets. While that may have been in the plans for a hot minute, two years later Gresham is gone and there are no talks of drafting a high caliber tight end after not signing one in free agency.

Dennard is another case of building for the future. At the time Dennard was drafted the cornerback position looked like so: Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, and Dre Kirkpatrick who was a first round pick in 2012. While depth was needed at the position, could one argue that Dennard would play above Hall, Newman, or Jones right away?

Now, with the 21st pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, the best player available, for a position that requires depth now and possibly a new starter down the road. The two positions that fit this scenario are defensive and offensive tackle.

Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith are in the final years of their respective contracts. Whitworth is not getting any younger in his mid-thirties. The rumor floating around is that if Whitworth were brought back for the 2016 season, he would move inside to extend his career. With the recent re-signing of Clint Boiling at left guard, Cincinnati would have to re-sign him for a song. Smith has been a solid right tackle when not injured. It may be time to start thinking about Whitworth’s replacement.

The three names being thrown around are Andrus Peat, La’el Collins, and T.J. Clemmings. Logic says if Cincinnati had their choice it would be Collins. This is strictly because Cincinnati has been binging on SEC players the last couple of years. It should also be noted that Whitworth is a LSU alum. If one offensive tackle from the Cam Cameron system has already flourished with the Bengals, wouldn’t it make sense for Collins to get the nod?

In the alternative universe that has the Bengals selecting a defensive tackle, it comes down to Malcom Brown, Arik Armstead, or Eddie Goldman. Logic says it would be a run stopper. With Domata Peko currently doing the “invisible work” on the inside, but underperforming and losing faith with the fan base, it may be time for Cincinnati to look for his replacement. Malcom Brown out of Texas may be the most intriguing of the three. At 6’2″, 319 pounds, he applies pressure on the quarterback, at times, which is vital for the Bengals.  This while his scouting report (per NFL.com) reads:

"“Showed great improvement during 2014 season and is considered a ‘riser’ on draft boards by league scouts. Good bend in his hips to play low off the snap. Athletic big man who improved his quickness this year. Began to impose his will more frequently late in the season. Excels once he reaches a lineman’s edge. Flashes power and control in his hands. Discards blockers when ready as a read-and-react defender and uses a punch to keep himself clean and scrape down the line after ball carriers. Eyes stay glued on ball carrier no matter what battle is in front of him. Can recover and improve positioning if he is losing early in snap. Light on his feet and diagnoses very quickly. Hard defender for offensive linemen to cross-face. Too athletic and talented to consistently single block.”"

Cincinnati Fans,

I want you to imagine a defensive line with Geno Atkins at full strength, Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap on the ends, and now another man in the middle that is, “too athletic and talented to consistently single block”.  How incredible could that be?

Regardless, the Bengals first round selection will depend on who is still available when Cincinnati picks due to the Bengals’ habit of selecting the best player available.  The selection should prove to be a depth move that also benefits the future of the roster.

Next: Andrus Peat Selected by Bengals in Mock Draft

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