If you’ve been a Bengals fan for a while, you know that the Bengals don’t go big in free agency. They’d rather grow through the draft and build a team through the process.
The Bengals have been to the playoffs in five of the last six years and have been successful building through the draft in the past. If the Bengals have any hopes of going to the playoffs next season, they need to “win” the draft. There’s a lot on the line for Cincinnati to succeed, including Marvin Lewis‘s future as the head coach. They will have to produce at least 2-3 starters from this draft crop this year to be somewhat competitive in rough-and-tumble AFC North.
Whether the Bengals draft a need or go BPA, they are expected to get players that will compete for starting jobs immediately. Even if it means reaching a bit in some rounds, the Bengals will need to draft immediate impact players.
Go BPA or Needs?
Should the Bengals go BPA at a position that may not be an immediate need but offers the best player? Cincinnati, in recent drafts, has gone this route. Need examples? Just think William Jackson III or Tyler Eifert. Although the team doesn’t know what they have in WJ3 yet, they know they have a Pro-Bowler in Eifert after going BPA with him. Is the risk of not getting a starter immediately worth getting a better player (according to analysts of course) eventually?
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If the Orange and Black were already a playoff-caliber team, I would definitely be okay with going BPA this year at any position. Sadly, Cincinnati isn’t a playoff team and has needs which can cause problems with going BPA with this class. Although the Stripes do have a high draft pick with which their needs can definitely be met.
There’s a lot of talent in this year’s class that the Bengals can go after and immediately upgrade the team. But, where do you go? They can snag Derek Barnett and improve the pass rush instantly or go with John Ross, adding another dimension to the offense.
So… How Do they Ace It?
There are tons of opinions on how Cincinnati can ace it. We may not even find out the Bengals have done well in the draft until one or two years from now. That doesn’t mean that we can’t discuss how they can have an A+ effort on paper though. Drafting a need and BPA will be the greatest thing. If you could get two birds with one stone, wouldn’t you take it?
If Cincy plans on drafting well, they’re gonna have to look at players that fill a need and are near the top of their remaining board. Some players that could be at the top of the boards in the 1st could be Corey Davis, Reuben Foster (Iffy), Jonathan Allen, Leonard Fournette. Getting players that are able to contribute immediately in the second and third rounds will be crucial as well. If you’ve watched the draft or know enough about the draft, you understand that there are always some top-tier prospects that drop to the 2nd round. Hopefully, those prospects can land with the Bengals at the 41st pick.
In the end, the Bengals will have to make smart picks and choices that will benefit immediately and also have a positive impact on the future.