With all the focus on the early rounds of the 2019 draft and who the Bengals should take, it’s time to take a look at the late rounds to find out if Cincinnati can find a diamond in the rough.
It has been reported by multiple sources that the Bengals may receive three compensatory sixth-round draft picks. This would give the Bengals double-digit draft picks for this upcoming 2019 draft. The chances of every draft pick making the team are slim, especially all the late round draft picks.
The Bengals though could find a player that will fill a need and make the team with one of their late draft picks. Two years ago the Bengals set out to find a new strong leg kicker and ended up drafting Jake Elliott. We all know the story about how he was cut, and he ended up making a game-winner 61-yard kick for the Eagles and also the Super Bowl.
While Randy Bullock hasn’t done badly at all during his time as the Bengals kicker, he also isn’t a weapon, which is what a lot of the best teams have at kicker in today’s NFL. I hit on this in an article I wrote 5 months ago.
The Bengals now have a chance to once again try to go out and find that weapon at kicker, with four possible 6th round draft picks. It would be wise to select a kicker again this year because he would have a better shot at making the team than most of the other late round draft picks.
A guy the Bengals should strongly consider in the draft is Utah’s kicker Matt Gay. Matt Gay in 2017 was an All American and also won the Lou Groza award, which goes to the nation’s top kicker. He has had a great college career wherein 2017 he led the nation in both field goals made and accuracy.
He is not only accurate but he has a huge leg to go with it. According to stats posted on espn.com, he has a career long of 56 yards. In 2017 he was 5 for 6 from beyond 50 yards. In 2018 he was 3 for 5 from beyond 50 yards. He has never missed an extra point in college and has only missed one field goal between 30 to 39 yards, which is what the extra point attempt is in the NFL.
He is a kicker that can truly change how a game is played. During most of Marvin Lewis’s tenure, the Bengals never had a kicker that was really accurate from 50 yards or beyond. This usually meant that the Bengals would have to get to at least the opponent 32-yard line to even feel halfway confident about a kick.
As we seen with Justin Tucker many times in the division, having a kicker on your team who you know has a realistic chance to make it between 55 to 62 yards changes the decisions a coach makes in a game. If you have a kicker who can make it from 55 to 62 yards, the offense only has to get to the opposing teams 40-yard line to feel confident in a kick, and yet still have a shot even if you only get to the opposing teams 45-yard line, which would make it a 62-yard field goal
This allows coaches to be more aggressive at the end of halves and at the end of games. It means fewer yards for your offense to have to get, for your team to have an opportunity for a field goal. Having a weapon as a kicker is one of the reasons why the Rams are playing in the Super Bowl. The Rams lined up in overtime for a 57-yard field goal with the Super Bowl on the line, because they knew the had a kicker who can make it. The Bengals, on the other hand, would have been forced to punt in that same situation.
It is time for that to change, and drafting Matt Gay from Utah would give the Bengals that weapon they need at the kicker position. The Bengals have a chance to draft impact players for the 2019 season in the beginning rounds, but also in the late rounds if they draft Matt Gay.
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