Bengals Must Find A Game Changer Early In The Draft

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Nov 25, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross (1) scores a touchdown against Washington State Cougars cornerback Darrien Molton (3) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2016; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross (1) scores a touchdown against Washington State Cougars cornerback Darrien Molton (3) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Scouting Combine is over and the 40 times are in. Soon, team draft board’s will be starting to take form. The Cincinnati Bengals have an opportunity to find a game changer, with the ninth pick. Who will they take? Let’s look at the possibilities.

The Bengals are going to have options when it is their turn to pick in the first round of this year’s draft. With several quarterback-needy teams selecting ahead of Cincinnati there is a really good chance some very talented athletes are going to be pushed back and available for the Bengals. Even with a weak quarterback class, you cannot count out teams reaching for a signal-caller simply because the need is so strong. This is where the orange and black could really benefit.

With this pick, the Bengals absolutely must stick with the ‘best player available’ philosophy. Now, make no mistake about it, there are some holes on this team that need to be filled. However, with eleven draft choice’s there will be an opportunity to fill these holes. Who knows? The value may justify the need in round one.

Balancing Value And Need 

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One need we keep hearing about is edge rusher. With that in mind the guy to keep an eye on Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas who is a top ten talent and he could possibly fall to the Bengals. If you look at the tape, Thomas absolutely manhandled offensive linemen in college. He brings great versatility as well with his ability to kick inside on third down. Thomas showed excellent athletic ability at the combine and would be an excellent value pick that also fills a need.

On the flip side, Reuben Foster is another name being thrown around a lot at linebacker, however, he is not a natural pass rusher so you have to ask yourself: Is the value really there? Don’t get me wrong, the talent is there but a coverage linebacker can be found in the mid-rounds as well. Add to that the character concerns and the question must be asked: Does the value justify the need?

When it comes to the draft, value is the name of the game. In order to play this game, sometimes, you have to think outside the box. Over the past few seasons, the Bengals have been known to surprise the so-called experts in the first round by going with the best player on the board instead of going with a need. They have also been able to find some success with this method, so don’t be shocked if their first guy off the board isn’t exactly what fans want.

Other Tempting Options

What about wide receiver? A.J. Green could use a running mate, and there are some interesting guys out there. Corey Davis could be available coming out of Western Michigan and would look good in stripes. How about John Ross from Washington who was literally blazing at the combine. Both guys are serious burner’s and could really open up the Bengals’ offensive attack as legitimate deep threats.

This organization has also proven that you can never count out cornerback. As stated on Stripe Hype, if Marshon Lattimore is available he has to get a serious look. The former Buckeye is a complete corner in a deep class and has the potential to be a shutdown cover man. You must also consider that a defense can never have too many defensive backs in this pass-heavy league. With that said, safeties Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker could also be too good to pass up, if they are available.

Next: Will Bengals Follow The Current Trend?

There are also two running backs that could be there in Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook. First round running backs are rare these days, but both guys are game-breakers. The point is the Bengals are in a prime position with the ninth pick this year. This team could go in so many different directions, and land a Pro-Bowl caliber talent. Which way do they go? Only time will tell, but if the Bengals stay true to their board, they could find a real game changer.

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