2015 NFL Draft: Bengals First-Round Big Board

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Oct 18, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jake Fisher (75) motivates the crowd against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

With the Bengals having a surprisingly good off-season/free agency period, predictions for the first round of the NFL Draft have gotten more difficult.  Obviously they are still very much in the market for an offensive tackle and this year’s top 50 has several to choose from.

However, with what looks like all 22 starting players on the current roster, what is going to be the role of a rookie? Will it truly be a “best player available” first round? I’m not sure, but I think we can get a pretty good projection of players by taking a look at what the Bengals have on their potential big board for the first round.

When composing this board, I am leaving out some of the top 10 guys like, Amari Cooper, Leonard Williams, and Brandon Scherff because they will be long gone when the Bengals select. This year’s first round is truly wide open and I wouldn’t rule out any positions, except maybe cornerback. The team is going to stick to their rankings, much like the Eifert pick in 2013, and take the highest rated player.

OT La’el Collins 6’4″, 305 pounds

Collins would help the Bengals transition at either tackle spot in the future as he fits exactly what the Bengals look for in a prospect/offensive lineman.  Collins could possibly be the top tackle taken in the draft, but could make his way to the Bengals. Of all the prospects on the board, Collins is probably the least likely to be there when the Bengals pick at 21.

OT Andrus Peat 6’7″, 312 pounds

The one true left tackle in the draft, Peat has started for Stanford the last two years at one of football’s premier positions.  Peat uses his 34 3/8-arm length to lock out opposing rushers and his agile feet make him a perfect fit to stay on the left side. Some have questioned his mean streak and the fact that he is probably only a tackle as he lacks the ability to play guard.

DE/LB Alvin Dupree 6’4″, 265 pounds

One of the Pro Days that head coach Marvin Lewis attended was the University of Kentucky’s where he was one of three head coaches in attendance.  Dupree has tested and looked really good leading up to the draft and I’m sure Lewis is intrigued with what he could bring as a possible SLB/pass rusher. Could the Bengals finally get the guy they have been looking for since David Pollack?

DT Danny Shelton 6’2″, 339 pounds

I don’t know if the Bengals have interest, but at one time the Bengals loved a big run stopper named Vince Wilfork.  Instead they choose not to move up and took Chris Perry (Who? Oh that guy).  When you watch the Washington product you can’t believe that he is 340 pounds given the way he moves and locates the football.  Shelton collected 89 tackles and 9.5 sacks last year. I think if Shelton were to “drop”, the Bengals would think long and hard about selecting him and forgetting about the nose tackle position for the next decade.

OT Ereck Flowers 6’6″, 325 pounds

Another massive tackle who has the Bengals’ attention, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was in attendance at the Miami pro day to probably get a good look at speedster wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. I’m sure he was also checking in on the big tackle prospect as well. Flowers might have the highest ceiling of all the tackles if he can clean up some of his issues with his hand placement. Flowers looks to put the guy in front of him through the field below on each and every play.

S Landon Collins 6’0″, 228 pounds

I know that Landon Collins doesn’t exactly fit what the Bengals look for in a safety, which is the ability to play both free safety and strong safety close to the line.  Collins was asked to play close to the line much of his time at Alabama, but he also has the ability to help over the top.  With Reggie Nelson and George Iloka both in contract years, the Bengals will probably elect to sign Iloka and replace Nelson (32) as he enters his ninth season. Collins could slide right into the safety mix.

DT Malcom Brown 6’4″, 320 pounds

Personally, I like Brown better than Danny Shelton (I seem to be in the minority). But the term “dancing bear” truly fits the former Texas lineman. Brown is a true anchor in the middle and has shown his ability to get to the quarterback as well. The UT lineman accounted for six sacks this year in the middle of the Texas defense. Brown could surprise as a top 15 pick.

OT Jake Fisher 6’5″, 305 pounds

The Bengals and their offensive line coach Paul Alexander has been taking a long look at Fisher,  Alexander worked out the Oregon product at his Pro Day and he has been brought in for a team visit as well.   I’m trying to figure out if the Bengals interest in Fisher is genuine or a possible smoke screen to draw attention away from other prospects. He really doesn’t fit the Bengals offensive line checklist other than is ability to play multiple positions.  Fisher is probably the most athletic tackle in the class, and with a year of NFL weight training and coaching, he might be a potential gem. He won’t make it out of the top 40 picks.

OT D.J. Humphries 6’4″, 307 pounds

One trend I have noticed this offseason is the Bengals are exploring the athletic tackles as well as the traditional mauling giants. D.J. Humphries was a guy who got a “return to school” grade from the NFL Draft Advisory board, but still chose to declare for the draft. He has bubbled to the top of the draft since as his stock has done nothing but go up this offseason.  I have to wonder if Humphries came out because his legs are breaking down and he wants to get his payday? Over the last two years he has missed seven games with injuries and as one former scout said “some guys just get hurt a lot”.

QB Brett Hundley 6’3″, 226 pounds

Error message, Error message please shut down! A quarterback? Really? Here is the thing, it doesn’t matter what your thoughts on Andy Dalton are because the team made it clear that 2015 is a “stay with or cut bait year” for the Bengals quarterback (largely based on his contract terms). The Bengals have shown interest in Hundley this offseason by sending quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to meet with him at the combine and by bringing him in for a visit. If Dalton fails this season, what’s the plan going forward?  Why not have an in-house option. Hundley has some very good qualities even being compared to Randall Cunningham.

Next: Stripe Hype's Mid-April Mock

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