With the 2017 NFL Draft bearing down, the Bengals are doing their research on possible draft picks. Marshon Lattimore could rise on the list.
In a world of mock drafts dominated by one player, the Cincinnati Bengals could make things interesting. Every expert, pundit and grandma with football IQ is banking on Reuben Foster to be in Stripes. But, what if the scenario changed? The talk is all about the front seven. Former Ohio State Buckeye, Marshon Lattimore, could easily be a shocking pick at number nine. The Bengals are in need of help at the corner position too. And isn’t that Marvelous Marv’s style?
So far, the big money is on Foster dropping anchor in the Queen City. But, there’s a problem with that scenario. Since Reuben was sent home from the NFL Combine, his stock has taken a nosedive. Foster has reportedly written a letter of apology but the damage has been done. The NFL is a stickler when it comes to image and perception. If the incident doesn’t affect his draft position, he may not be there at the nine position.
This is where thoughts of Marshon Lattimore become more intriguing. Even if you don’t agree, have some fun with the possibility. That’s what these mocks and early predictions are all about. Why so serious?
The Combine Numbers
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If you haven’t heard of Lattimore, don’t feel bad. That linebacker from Alabama has been forced down everyone’s throat like a spoonful of sugar-laced cough syrup. There’s no doubt that the Bengals’ defense has a few questionable areas. Speed is one answer that tends to cover a multitude of sins. A player’s shortcomings can be forgiven, while he learns the proper techniques. But, he’s gotta have…speed. That’s a coveted gift in the NFL.
Does anyone remember what William Jackson III did at the combine? Here’s a little refresher, from CBSSports.com. His averaged 40-yard dash time was 4.32. Lattimore gave a similar display at the 2017 Combine. His dash work earned him a 4.36.
Once again, I must quote the master. John Madden insists that speed kills.
But, it’s not just his speed that should be intriguing to the Bengals. Lattimore could essentially help in a few ways. With the Adam Jones soap opera slated to ramp into full gear, he would become added depth. Darqueze Dennard hasn’t stepped up his game enough to be considered starter material. Is that his fault? Not entirely. Head coach Marvin Lewis has to allow the rookies more time to develop their skills. Dre Kirkpatrick could be saying adios in free agency.
The Bengals will also be looking to snag the best player on the board. If Foster is gone and there aren’t any eye openers left at RB, Lattimore could be the most logical pick. Director of Player Personnel, Duke Tobin, has already asserted that Cincinnati will be seeking the best player available with the No. 9 selection.
Lattimore had limited playing time for the Buckeyes. After suffering hamstring injuries, Lattimore rebounded with sparkling production. In one year on the field, he snagged four interceptions and had 41 tackles.
The former Buckeye missed the entire 2014 campaign and played three games the following year. At the combine, Lattimore gave potential teams a scare when he had issues with his legs again.
But, the young corner was quick to shoot down any misinformation.
It wouldn’t be a shock to the Draft Universe, if the Bengals reeled in Lattimore. The pattern goes all the way back to Lewis’ early days with the franchise. Before he was at the helm of the Orange and Black, Lewis was defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens. He also did time as linebackers coach in Pittsburgh. His experience with building the X’s has been the foundation for the notorious picks.
"“I underestimated how good our guys were in Pittsburgh, and it’s been something that has stuck with me; you can’t have enough,” Lewis explained, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “So we’ve continued to do that.”"
Maybe Lewis is trying to exorcise a few demons and find the next Jonathan Joseph in the process. Don’t be surprised on draft day.