Bengals Two Compensatory Picks Ensure “BPA” in First Round

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Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo and main stage before the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

As of yesterday NFL owners decided on compensatory selections for the 2015 draft.  As predicted, the Bengals scored two selections due to the losses of Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins in 2014:  fans can have fun with the irony behind reacquiring Johnson while also scoring a third round selection because of him.  The pick regarding Johnson was predictable.  Collins’ departure left many speculating what kind of selection the team would be awarded with.  Most thought the Bengals would receive a fifth round pick, so after receiving a fourth, the team and fans should feel like the scored.

Gaining two of the highest compensatory selections given out this year (the third and seventh highest respectively) will play a part in deciding how the team drafts next month.  The likeliest conclusion is the team will be selecting the “best player available” at 21.  It’s hardly a new approach for the Bengals, and should continue this year after the compensatory selection news.

Despite some significant holes in the Bengals’ roster, this approach shouldn’t frustrate fans who are eager to ameliorate these deficits.  This year’s draft is particularly propitious for the Bengals. It just so happens the positional groups which represent some of the Bengals’ most pressing needs are particularly deep: defensive tackle, wide receiver, and tight end.  This means the team won’t be pressed to fill any particular hole.  It should help to ensure the Bengals add a talented and promising player to the roster.

Even considering the advantages to leaving your options open in the first round, some fans will point to the past few seasons as evidence that this approach hardly ensures success in the draft’s initial round.  Dre Kirkpatrick has yet to perform commensurate to his first round selection.  Kevin Zeitler has been great, but also missed eight games over the past two seasons.  2013’s first round pick Tyler Eifert has also been plagued by a couple of injuries, which has hampered his progress on the field, and the jury is still out on last year’s selection, Darqueze Dennard, who was essentially “reshirted” last season on defense (he had a productive year as a gunner on special teams).  It goes to show that no outcome is assured for any prospect regard of where he’s selected.

Nonetheless, the “best player available” strategy is the draft’s ideal approach.  It means a team is capable of considering all options when “on the clock,” meaning a team won’t have to pass on any player who they feel particularly confident in.  I’d hate to see the Bengals pass on what they believe is a sure-fire prospect simply to solve a need, especially considering their eye for talent.

Over the past handful of years, the Bengals have proven themselves to be competent when drafting.  This likely has to do with great scouting and their proverbial “eye,” but is also due to the shrewd moves they make prior to the draft.  This year those moves include filling needs with Michael Johnson at defensive end, A.J. Hawk at linebacker, and Eric Winston at offensive tackle.  These additions mean the Bengals won’t head into the draft desperate to fill any hole.  Options are generally a good thing, and this holds true with regards to the NFL draft.  Because of this, the Bengals will be employing their familiar draft strategy come April 30th’s first round, and should come away with yet another impressive haul upon the draft’s conclusion.

Next: Bengals Prospect Spotlight: Alvin Dupree

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