With A Strong Draft Bengals Can Compete In 2017

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Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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With A Strong Draft Bengals Can Compete In 2017
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 draft class is loaded with talent from top to bottom. With free agency virtually wrapped up, the focus is now on the nation’s top prospects. If the Cincinnati Bengals can hit on this draft, they may not be as far away from competing as originally thought.

The Cincinnati Bengals got off to a slow start in free agency but finished pretty strong with the signing of linebacker Kevin Minter and offensive lineman Andre Smith, as well as resigning Dre Kirkpatrick and some other key role players.  All of these signings solidified some positions of need. The Bengals are going to be young. However, they still have a strong core of players on their roster.

The Bengals have a good opportunity to acquire even more talent with eleven picks in the upcoming draft. This class is loaded with playmakers in numerous positions that can come in and make an instant impact for coach Marvin Lewis. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s premier prospects and where the Bengals could land them throughout all three days of the draft.

Looking at the 9th pick

The number one prospect for the Bengals should be WR Corey Davis out of Western Michigan. I previously posted about Davis. Defending that case, I firmly believe he would be a perfect complement to A.J. Green with his size, speed, and athleticism. However, Davis is not the only receiver that could be available when it’s time for Cincinnati to select. Mike Williams of Clemson has made big plays in some big games. Washington burner John Ross is someone I believe the Bengals will take a serious look at, if he clears medically, thanks to his blazing 4.2 speed.

Of course, wide receiver isn’t the only position on the board. As a matter of fact, most believe that ‘edge’ rusher is the position the Bengals are targeting the most. There are two players I really like in the top ten. In terms of value, Solomon Thomas of Stanford and Derek Barnett of Tennessee. Thomas is not likely to be around at nine. But, if he is, the Bengals have to pounce. He showed tremendous athleticism at the combine to rush from the edge and can kick inside on third down. Thomas has excellent technique, with the usage of his hands, to disengage from the line.

As much as I love Thomas, I might like Barnett even more. The former Volunteer is an absolute warrior. Though he is not considered an ‘elite’ athlete, he does have a really good burst off the line and does a great job getting to the quarterback. Looking at the numbers he put up in the SEC, you have to believe that the man who broke the great Reggie White‘s records, has something special. Even if you don’t put much stock into numbers, look at the game film. Barnett is impressive.

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