2015 NFL Draft: Bengals Should Be Interested in Several Miami Prospects

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Sep 7, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (4) scores untouched against the Florida Gators during the first half of the game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the Cincinnati Bengals are attending Miami Hurricanes Pro Day according to Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

It’ll be a particularly unique opportunity for the Bengals to view several prospects who could solve many of the issues they currently have.

The Bengals are currently in need of an offensive tackle of the future who can also provide depth in his rookie year. After ameliorating several of their issues in free agency, many have speculated that the Bengals will select an offensive tackle in the first round. Miami tackle Ereck Flowers could fit that bill and solve that need. He’s a powerful blocker who could certainly help the Bengals in the run game. With some coaching, Flowers could eventually become the Bengals left tackle of the future, as current left tackle Andrew Whitworth is heading into the final stages of his career. Ereck Flowers would certainly fit the Bengals’ offensive line need.

Many fans and pundits have also predicted the team will select a wide receiver early in the draft. With a need in the slot, many of these same people have directly linked the Bengals to Phillip Dorsett, the speedy, playmaking receiver out of Coral Gables. Apparently, Dorsett is only raising his draft stature with an impressive Pro Day, building upon his already impressive combine performance. The Bengals should be highly interested in Dorsett, as he would add a deep threat and slot presence to the passing game. Maybe most importantly, he also has that “home run” threat after the catch. This ability fits into the Bengals’ plan of getting the ball out of Andy Dalton‘s hands quickly while relying on weapons to gain yards after the catch. Dorsett would fit nicely next year and into the future when the Bengals likely lose either Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu to free agency next year.

Next up is tight end, where the Bengals have a significant need. Jermaine Gresham remains a free agent, as he is recovering from offseason back surgery to repair a herniated disc. This while Tyler Eifert has also been hurt several times already during his two-year career. With Kevin Brock and Jake Murphy being the only other tight end under contract, the Bengals need to add a playmaking, dual threat tight end.

Enter Clive Walford. The 6’4″, 251-pound Walford has the build and athleticism to make him a fit for the Bengals. He’s an already capable blocker who could become a highly effective one with some coaching. This while Mike Mayock (NFL Analyst) called him the draft’s “most explosive tight end.” He has the versatility to line up at several spots and the size to offer Dalton a legitimate target on most plays. Walford’s dual-threat promise should have offensive coordinator Hue Jackson paying close attention.

All these offensive prospects, and only now are we touching on the defensive side of the ball. Cincinnati has a pretty significant need for an upgrade within the linebacking corps. Miami offers a highly promising prospect in inside linebacker Denzel Perryman.

Perryman is an aggressive presence in the middle of the field, which inspired this comment from one AFC Director of Scouting:

"“I have a little higher grade on Perryman than I probably should, but we like thumpers and badasses inside and he’s both.”"

This quote alone should engender excitement from Cincinnati fans. The defense could certainly use some attitude and intimidation, and especially while Vontaze Burfict could potentially miss some time following microfracture surgery. Perryman’s downhill style likens that of Rey Maualuga‘s in the run game, so some will argue that the Bengals already have a similar presence. But Perryman is a natural middle linebacker and Maualuga isn’t. Bringing Perryman aboard gives the Bengals this presence within their 4-3 base formation, and maybe with some coaching, versatility down the road. Although I don’t expect the Bengals would want to select him in the first couple of rounds, they could do so if he fell into the third (unlikely in my opinion).

Within the secondary, the Bengals are always looking to add talent to the cornerback group and are in need of a safety for the future. This is where Ladarius Gunter comes into the Bengals’ picture. Although Gunter is labeled as a corner on many “big boards,” his draft profile (via NFL.com) reads like a safety. Good instincts, playmaking ability, and safety size makes him sound like a solid prospect in the draft’s latter rounds. If the Bengals could select him in the fifth round or so (a la George Iloka in 2012), they could get a real score in Gunter. A fifth round selection and a year to develop worked out great for Iloka. Maybe the same plan would allow the Bengals to strike gold again with the defense’s last line of defense.

In total, the Hurricanes offer nine players who could be drafted this year: running back Duke Johnson, defensive end Anthony Chickillo, guard Jon Feliciano, and center Shane McDermott round out the group. The Bengals could be interested in Chickillo if he falls into the latest of rounds along with Feliciano and McDermott to sure up the middle of the offensive line, but again, only in the latest of rounds. Regardless, considering the Bengals’ needs, more than one Hurricane could find himself in stripes later this year. You can bet the Bengals will be paying attention at this highly important Pro Day.

Next: A Look At Alabama Safety Landon Collins

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