With the draft over, the Bengals are ready to win in 2017. Outlook on the roster, bold predictions for the upcoming season.
After last week’s draft, the Bengals look significantly younger and faster. Both were huge goals for the team this offseason. Some people argue drafting John Ross at 9 overall was a reach. I’ve watched a lot of film this offseason and, in my opinion, this is far from a reach. Ross was the number one receiver on their board, considering the team has A.J. Green. A receiver who wins 50/50 balls, runs every route and commands double teams. Essentially, that’s what makes the Ross pick so good.
The team went out and got what they didn’t have. They needed a speedster who can take the top off the defense and also run intermediate routes. This selection does two things, it makes defenses have to choose between double teaming A.J. or staying honest to stop the downfield threat of Ross. That’s a tough decision. A lot of 1-on-1. I understand his injury concern but this year a lot of top prospects came into the draft with questionable health concerns.
Another benefit from this selection is the running game instantly gets better. This is of course because with the newly added passing threats, the less the defense can stack the box, creating even matchups along the line. It also allows new running back Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard opportunities to get 1-on-1’s with linebackers out of the backfield. Even if Ross has injury issues I believe Josh Malone their 4th round pick has the skills and speed to stretch the field and put up good numbers.
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As much as people hate the pick of Joe Mixon, from a football standpoint, he is a top ten talent. His skill set has been compared to that of Le’veon Bell. Mixon is a young man who runs with great patience, speed and has a devastating jump-cut, without losing speed. Out of the backfield, he has natural hands, good route running and has shown the ability to adjust in the air and make contested catches.
On defense, the Bengals really hit a homerun with pass rush talent. Even if they’re only situational pass rushers this season, I easily see the duo of Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson putting up 10 or more sacks this season. That would be a major boost, especially if they get pass rush production out of whoever starts at tackle opposite Geno Atkins. We know what Atkins and Dunlap will do.
In college, Jordan Willis was a three-year starter where he racked up 114 tackles (40.5 for loss), 26 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Some “experts” thought he would be a late first round pick. The Bengals got him in the 3rd round. Lawson is an undersized but very strong pass rusher who was injury riddled throughout his college career. He played in only 30 games in four years but managed to have 67 tackles (24.5 for loss), 14.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. If not for injuries, he would have been an early Day 2 selection.
With free agency additions, the draft in the books and the 2017 schedule released Bengals fans should be very excited. The Bengals found a way to blend need and value very well in this draft. Picking up three serious weapons on offense, two pass rushers and a kicker that will hopefully be a long-term option. Also adding a coverage linebacker, a do it all CB and a possible replacement at center. Not bad for a team already loaded with talent. The Bengals should get back to their winning ways.
- Andy Dalton throws for 5,000 yards.
- Joe Mixon will win the starting spot and have 1,500 yards from scrimmage.
- Eifert will finish the season.
- The Bengals will win 10 games and make the playoffs.
- I say it every year but the Bengals will “win” a playoff game. It’ll happen for their 50 year anniversary.