Who should the Bengals take at No. 41? The running game still needs to be addressed and defense is calling.
Wow…what an interesting first round. Three wideouts taken in the top ten, three quarterback trades and the best linebacker almost dropping out of the first round. For Bengals fans, there have been a lot of mixed emotions. On social media, I’ve seen fans praising the pick of speedster John Ross but also fans expressing how they would have rather went defense.
When the Bengals picked at nine, Malik hooker was available. Jonathon Allen, Marshon Lattimore, Reuben Foster and Derek Barnett were still on the board as well. But, there’s still a lot of talent on Day 2. Let’s look at some players the Bengals could target at pick 41.
5 players Bengals should consider
1. Joe Mixon- (RB) 6’1″, 226 lbs, 4.43 40-yard dash: In my opinion and many others, Mixon is the most complete running back in the class. As we all know by now his 2014 off field incident has hurt his draft stock but do the Bengals take a chance on a top ten talent?
2. Dalvin Cook- (RB) 5’10”, 210lbs, 4.49 40-yard dash: Another complete running back who fell to Day 2 because of character issues. Cook, at one point this offseason, was thought to be a lock for the top 20. He’s broken numerous records at Florida State while dominating ACC competition. He could be an absolute steal for the Bengals at No. 41.
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3. Jordan Willis- (DE) 6’4″,255lbs, 4.53 40-yard dash: It might be time to think defense, depending on how the top of the second round plays out. If the top running backs are gone, here’s a good option at DE. Here’s what analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about Willis.
"Productive three-year starter who plays with desired motor from whistle to whistle. Willis is a stack-and-shed edge defender with good play strength and quality hand work at the point of attack. He will need more creativity to be an effective NFL pass rusher, but he should be able to earn a roster spot and work his way up the pecking order in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme."
More for the Front Seven
4. Zach Cunningham- (LB) 6’3, 234lbs, 4.67 40-yard dash: This Vanderbilt linebacker is one of my favorite players. He’s an instinctive, athletic linebacker with coverage skills. I’m totally surprised he didn’t get into the first round. But, he could be a gem for a Bengals team that has two linebackers set to become free agents (Vontaze Burfict, Kevin Minter).
5. Malik McDowell- (DT/DE) 6’6, 295lbs, 4.85 40-yard dash: McDowell is a big athletic D-lineman who wins with a little finesse and a lot of power. He’s more of a project than a sure thing. But, not as big a project as Margus Hunt was coming out. McDowell actually had good production against some top talent.