The Bengals could make a trade up or down in the upcoming draft. There are a ton of trade candidates the Bengals could be looking at during the process.
The Bengals have made few draft day trades in the past, the last being one in 2014 when the Bengals traded up to get Russell Bodine. Cincinnati loves acquiring picks. When I say loves… I mean ‘LOVES’ acquiring picks. As you can tell from the compensatory picks accumulated by the front office, they may want to trade down to acquire more. If the Bengals like someone a lot, draft day could hold some surprises.
There are a couple of candidates the Bengals could trade up for and also even trade down to acquire. They’ll get their picks at the same time.
Trade Up Candidates:
Leonard Fournette, RB
Many may argue that Leonard Fournette isn’t worth trading up for. Although, if the Bengals do really want him and want him as the future at the running back position, they may have to make a trade for him. Teams like the Panthers could be a team that wants to draft Fournette and trading with someone like the Chargers could be done to acquire him.
Although I don’t think this trade happens, due to the Bengals showing strong interest in Joe Mixon and having a pre-draft visit with Dalvin Cook.
Solomon Thomas, DE
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A month or two ago, getting Solomon Thomas at No. 9 would’ve been quite easy and a pick that the Bengals would want to take. Now, Thomas is projected to be off the board within picks two through eight. After a great showing at the combine, more people are realizing his athletic ability. Even though Thomas doesn’t necessarily meet the Bengals preferred height requirement of defensive ends, the talent is there.
According to his NFL Draft Profile:
"“Stays hungry and wants to feast. Powerful for his size. Shows ability to win with power or quickness. Outstanding athleticism. Fluid in his play. Transitions from move to move. Unpredictable pass rush. Attacks both the edges and can crank up a bull rush. Uses swipes, rips and arm-over to unlock his rush. Hands and feet work in unison. Has lightning-quick spin move he can access to unhinge from block and find new life in his rush.”"
Teams like the Panthers and Chargers are waiting, if he’s still around. The 49ers are favorites to take the Stanford stud currently. But if he drops, watch for the Bengals to make a move.
Trade Down Candidates:
Haason Reddick, LB
Haason Reddick is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft (in my opinion of course!). Reddick has shown in the past that he’s got pass rushing ability. But in his last season for Temple, he played in coverage as well. Reddick has gone up the draft boards recently, after being looked at as a bottom of 1st or top of 2nd round player. He is typically projected to go mid first round.
Reddick posted a 4.52 40 yard dash which is quite fast for a linebacker and something that would be quite ideal for a slow Bengals LB corps. If the Bengals were to trade down to around picks 15-17 and pick up a 3rd or 4th, while getting Reddick… that would be a steal in my book.
O.J. Howard, TE
Howard is one of the best tight ends to come out of college in a long time. His ability to block well and be a great receiver is having him shoot up draft boards. Many believe he’s one of the surest picks in the draft. He’s got great hands, receiving ability, and also amazing blocking ability. He tested well at the combine after running a 4.51, which at his size… is quite extraordinary.
Why would the Bengals need a tight end you ask? Well, Eifert is a free agent after this season and the Bengals may be reluctant to resign him due to his injury concerns. Another factor is Andy Dalton having two security blankets. Imagine a monster receiving duo of Eifert and Howard. The twin towers would provide a matchup nightmare.