The Cincinnati Bengals picked up some big players in this year’s draft, but who will make the biggest impact?
The Bengals are looking at one of the best draft classes since 2011, when they picked up both A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. In 2016, they picked up key players like William Jackson III, Tyler Boyd, Andrew Billings, and Christian Westerman. But, which player will make the biggest impact in year one?
William Jackson III was the first round draft pick. With the loss of Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson, the Bengals needed to add depth at corner. This move also comes with Dre Kirkpatrick in a contract year, and Adam Jones a ticking time bomb, before he hits his career’s end. His impact will be important to the Bengals but he will have to wait his turn before he gets a larger role.
Tyler Boyd came as the second round pick and he is the best of both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. His talent will be useful in the slot, finding space, and some of the best hands to come out of this draft. The Cincinnati Bengals found another gem filling probably the most immediate need going into the draft, one many thought they should have filled in round one.
Andrew Billings was one of the biggest steals of the draft. Once thought to be a first round talent at defensive tackle, he fell and fell and then fell some more, until the Bengals had their pick fourth round. Andrew Billings has the power on the inside to force offensive lineman into the pocket and disrupt both the run and pass games. He is figured to be Domata Peko‘s replacement but could factor into a defensive rotation.
Finally, Christian Westerman was a strong steal as well in the fifth, since he was expected to be a day two pick. The interior offensive lineman will be a strong candidate to play immediately, especially as a rotational player with Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling. The Bengals could decide to move him to center if they deem Russell Bodine to be unfit compared to Westerman.
So which player will be the best rookie and deserve the top rookie recognition on the team. Well, it seems that Andrew Billings is lining up to have the best chance at giving the Bengals the biggest contribution, especially with Peko’s age but it might surprise most to hear that Tyler Boyd will be the biggest piece.
Boyd will eventually establish his place as the number two wide receiver, ahead of Brandon LaFell. His route running and ability to get passes high will benefit Dalton and the Bengals, giving Dalton more options over the middle. Boyd will need to learn to take hits, but don’t be surprised to see many of his routes take him to the sideline with room to get two feet down and out.