The Cincinnati Bengals approach the 2013 NFL Draft with a few holes to fill, but can use this year to really upgrade their talent level. The biggest hole on the offense is the lack of a dynamic running back. While BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a decent starter as a guy who can chew up some yardage, he is not someone opposing teams fear. They also need a more stable situation at center as they had to bring in Jeff Faine for a stretch off the street. On defense, there are some lingering questions around the linebacker position, but the Bengals have a ton of flexibility with how they want to address that area. The biggest hole is at free safety where they have plugged in some middle of the road players who were serviceable but have not had a real answer to the position to protect the back end of the defense. This draft provides a huge opportunity as the Bengals could be in prime position to take advantage of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens faltering slightly to regroup and take over control of the AFC North Division.
21. Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia – The Bengals have an interesting situation at linebacker. They brought back Rey Maualuga who could contribute as a run stopping middle linebacker or slide over to the strong side or be a valuable backup. They have Vontaze Burfict coming off of an impressive rookie year who played on the weak side but could play any of the three spots and might be best suited to play in the middle. Pending the medical, Jones would give them a tremendous upgrade on the strong side as a run defender who also gives them another talented pass rusher to add to what is already an impressive group. Not only that, but the Jones fits the profile of player that the Bengals love. Jones was tremendously productive but has a chip growing on his shoulder as the number of doubters add up and head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer have had a tremendous amount of success finding guys with something to prove and being able to get every bit of talent out of them. The Bengals have also had an interesting connection to Georgia and have picked a number of Bulldogs over the past several years including David Pollack, Odell Thurman, Geno Atkins, Clint Boling, and Orson Charles.
Arthur Brown, ILB Kansas State – If Arthur Brown somehow lasts to the twenty-first pick, the Bengals may not be able to get the card in fast enough. He would be able to contribute at the weak side linebacker or inside linebacker, give them a ton of talent, versatility, and another three-down linebacker along with Burfict that can contribute in passing situations.
Johnathan Cyprien, S Florida International – The Bengals would love to add a talented free safety to round out an impressive looking secondary and Cyprien has all the tools to be a great all-around player in the NFL if he just gets more consistent. He can cover well, has impressive range, and is a willing run supporter.
Keenan Allen, WR Cal - It is unlikely the Bengals would go this route, but if they want to create a situation like the Atlanta Falcons with a set of weapons for Andy Dalton, they could opt for Allen to pair with their stud A.J. Green. While he is still recovering from a PCL injury from last year, he is easily the best receiver in this draft and has become underrated due to the injury and playing in a bad situation at Cal. He excels as a route runner and run after catch player that could create havoc on the other side from Green with Jermaine Gresham creating plays in the middle of the field.
Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State - Following the same logic as with Allen, the Bengals could travel up I-71 and grab Hankins to pair with Geno Atkins to cause nightmares in the middle of opposing offensive lines. Hankins needs to improve his balance and consistency, but he is an earth mover with surprising agility that could end up being the prototypical nose tackle next to the best 3-technique defensive tackle going right now. Combine that with their impressive group of defensive ends and the Bengals could make an argument for the best defensive line in football.
37. David Amerson, CB N.C. State – So much has been made of whether David Amerson can be a cornerback at the next level. Even when he played corner for the Wolfpack, he played it like a safety and was an absolute ball hawk with an unbelievable 18 interceptions over the past two seasons. The Bengals need a free safety, but they also need someone who can cause turnovers for them. Amerson can give them both. He is another guy that has some questions dogging him as he gave up a number of touchdowns this past year causing people to doubt him. Zimmer feeds off of that and will put him in positions to make plays that could get him back to the elite level he played as a sophomore. If Amerson lasts this long, the Bengals could be getting a huge value as Amerson was projected to be an early first-round pick coming into the season.
Alec Ogletree, ILB Georgia – There is no player that has been linked to the Bengals more than Ogletree. His character concerns and lightning in a bottle feel in addition to the Georgia connection scream Cincinnati Bengal. Ogletree could give them a tremendous weak side linebacker prospect that gives them an added element of speed and the ability to cover. The combination of Burfict and Ogletree as their nickel linebacker is certainly an intriguing combination for Bengal fans.
Giovani Bernard, RB North Carolina – There are probably some people screaming this should be Eddie Lacy and the Bengals could do that route, but then they would have two big backs who are borderline useless as receivers out of the backfield. Bernard would give them a good fit for the west coast offense that could be an asset as a receiver in addition to a different style of runner to complement Green-Ellis.
Eric Reid, S LSU – Reid would give them a purer deep zone safety if they want to go that route with so many players attacking forward in their defensive scheme. Reid has tremendous instincts for spacing and how teams are attacking the defense.
53. Andre Ellington, RB Clemson – Because of the reliability of BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a guy who can chew up yardage, the Bengals may look to add a more explosive runner that can create big plays and potentially take plays to the house. Ellington is a no nonsense runner that hits the hole as fast as he possibly can and runs so that he is always going north and south; even his cuts continue going down the field. The Bengals have a big, mauling offensive line that could create opportunities to get Ellington to the second level where he can be a nightmare as an open field runner. The other area Ellington helps is it gives them a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield that defenses have to account to stop. Whether the team feels quarterback Andy Dalton is the quarterback to take them all the way or not, no one can deny that a strong running game would make his life so much easier. When push came to shove, the Bengals did far more throwing than they would have wanted and Ellington could give them a balanced attack to keep running the ball.
Robert Woods, WR USC – The Bengals have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in A.J. Green with a nice collection of complementary players with the potential to improve like Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Not only do they have Green, but they also have a talented tight end in Jermaine Gresham, but if they want to really put a stamp on their receivers to give Andy Dalton every tool to succeed possible. Woods is a tremendous talent who has elite feet, separates well, and would be a great fit in the Bengals offensive system.
Sam Montgomery, DE LSU – If Montgomery is still on the board at this point, the Bengals may pounce on him. For all of the criticism of Montgomery and his comments at the combine, he still has the talent to be a franchise defensive end like one of their current defensive ends, Carlos Dunlap. Montgomery would allow them to continue their ‘next man up’ mentality on defense and give them someone who could play either end spot.
84. Travis Frederick, C Wisconsin – This center class is not outstanding by any stretch, but there is value to be had and Frederick is a great fit for the Bengals offensive line. They have an offensive line made up of big earth movers including Frederick’s former Badger teammate in Kevin Zeitler. Frederick would give them stable player at the pivot spot and stabilize the offensive line as a whole.
Zavier Gooden, OLB Missouri – Gooden would give them a prototypical weak side linebacker that could come in and contribute immediately and excels in man coverage. He is also a tremendous athlete who flies all over the field. Gooden might be a better value for the Bengals here than Ogletree would be in the second.
Marcus Lattimore, RB South Carolina – The Bengals have been a team that has tried to capture lightning in a bottle on multiple occasions with good and bad results. Even if they would be forced to sit Lattimore for a year, which appears unlikely, the talent he has would be worth it and could be the franchise runner they desperately want in that offense. He could be the best running back the Bengals have drafted since Corey Dillon.
Tyrann Mathieu, DB LSU – The Bengals are definitely a team that could look past Mathieu’s past and pick him to play as an extremely talented nickel player who can provide depth at corner and safety as well as contribute on special teams as a returner. Mathieu has tremendous instincts for the game of football and is a tremendous threat to cause turnovers and create plays with the ball in his hands.
118. Zac Dysert, QB Miami – Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback for the Bengals, but there is certainly a question as to whether or not he has the capability to take them all the way. The Bengals opt to bring in the tough, gritty Dysert to develop behind Dalton while giving Dalton a subtle reminder to keep working and competing. There might not have been a tougher quarterback in all of college football than Dysert this past year as he took a lot of punishment, kept getting up, competing and taking more. He has some good physical tools to develop and while he has some issues to improve upon, especially consistency, he has the potential to develop into a starter whether for the Bengals or another team in the future.
Sean Renfree, QB Duke – Renfree is a purer west coast quarterback that has been developed under quarterback guru and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. If offensive coordinator Jay Gruden pushes for a quarterback that has been bred in a similar system to the one he runs, Renfree could be their guy. He is a talented quarterback who has shown some promise but suffered a shoulder injury that he is still rehabbing.
Nick Kasa, TE Colorado – The Bengals have an impressive tight end in Jermaine Gresham who can do it all as well as a joker tight end in development with Orson Charles. They have an open spot to add a blocking tight end with some upside to help them impose their will on the ground and Kasa brings both along with the potential to develop as a receiver. This would continue their investment on establishing an effective running game and being able to impose their will late in the year and into the playoffs.
156. Zach Sudfeld, TE Nevada – If the Bengals want to add an aggressive blocking style tight end to pair with Gresham to impose their will in the running game who has the potential to develop as a receiver, Sudfeld could be a great option with a ton of size that fits with their offensive line. The Bengals have what they hope is an effective 1-2 punch with Gresham and Charles, but they could use a player like Kasa if they want to go full on power and tell defenses to try and stop them, which could open up their play action passing.
Ty Powell, OLB Harding – The Bengals could easily use multiple picks on linebacker in this year’s draft just to give their defense more pieces to move around. Ty Powell has played a number of different positions in his career at Harding and played well at all of them. He has not really found a home yet in terms of a position, which is perfect for the Bengals who have a bunch of guys they can move around in different situations. Harding would give them a triangle numbers prospect they can mold into a player for the future, use on special teams and fill in at various spots giving them general depth allowing them to save roster space.
Reid Fragel, OT Ohio State – Fragel is a converted tight end who showed promise in his first year at the position with impressive physical tools. The Bengals do not have much in the way of depth that can come in and play if anything were to happen to Andrew Whitworth and Fragel could be a long term project as a left tackle for the future as well as a swing tackle now.
190. Knile Davis, RB Arkansas – It would not be a shock to see the Bengals add a second running back and try to gamble on big time talent. Knile Davis was considered a first round prospect but a combination of injuries and issues with fumbling have hurt his stock. Still, he is a freakish athlete and has the ability to be a home run hitter for a team as a runner or a receiver out of the backfield. With limited snaps and focusing on holding onto the ball, the Bengals could hit it big with Davis, but if he gets hurt, they are not giving up much.
197. Marquess Wilson, WR Washington State - With the mess that ended his college career, it is easy to forget how talented Wilson is on the football field. If he falls to this point in the draft, there is potential for a steal here and that is the type of receiver the Bengals would need to make their roster. Wilson would give them the potential for a receiver to play opposite Green.
Stefphon Jefferson, RB Nevada - Jefferson is a good triangle numbers prospect who was productive for the Wolfpack and could be a surprise player as a third down and change of pace back. Depending on how the Bengals choose to attack this position, they could need someone who can be a threat to catch passes out of the backfield.
Aaron Mellette, WR Elon - Mellette is a small school player that could end up at the bottom of the draft due to the sheer amount of depth in this class. He had some difficulties competing in the Senior Bowl but he did flash the talent to be a worthwhile player in the league if he keeps working.
T.J. Barnes, DT Georgia Tech - The Bengals have a nice collection of defensive tackles but could bring in a guy with high upside to compete for a spot and perhaps stash on their practice squad. Barnes is a player that needs substantial technical work but offers incredible size as a nose guard at 6’7″ 345lbs.
240. Luke Marquardt, OT Azusa Pacific – Here, the Bengals are basically beating teams to the punch by taking a guy that many might be hoping they could get as an undrafted free agent. Marquardt is raw and dealt with injuries, but he has incredible size and strength along with good feet and a nasty demeanor in the running game. Maraquardt fits the profile of linemen the Bengals have found themselves gravitating towards and is a long term project as well as depth as a swing tackle.
251. Mike Catapano, DE Princeton – The Bengals love to keep compiling talent along the defensive line to keep their guys fresh and never be in trouble when they lose one and Catapano is a high motor, blue collar guy that could compete for a spot in the rotation and fits the size the Bengals like. If he can improve his leverage consistently, he could be a nice player for the team that takes him as a pass rusher and run defender.
Mark Jackson, OT Glenville State – Jackson played tackle in college but projects as a guard in the pros and gives the Bengals depth in the mold of linemen they like as well as the tool s to be a good player. He needs to continue his development and gain more experience against better competition.
Chris Thompson, RB Florida State - Before he suffered a season ending injury, there was a lot of excitement surrounding Thompson in the draft community and what he could add to a team as a change of pace back and returner. Depending on the medical, the Bengals could see what they could get out of him or stash him for a year on injured reserve.
Colby Cameron, QB Lousiana Tech – While this class is not loaded in terms of quarterback talent, there are some players who definitely warrant a look to see if they can be developed. Cameron was a productive quarterback for the Bulldogs this year and projects as a guy who gets brought in to see if he can compete for spot and perhaps gets put on the practice squad.
Tags: 2013 NFL Mock Draft Alec Ogletree Andre Ellington Arkansas Razorbacks Football Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft Clemson Tigers Football David Amerson Georgia Bulldogs Football Jarvis Jones Knile Davis Luke Marquardt Marquess Wilson Miami Ohio Middle Linebackers Mike Catapano NC State Wolfpack Football Nevada Wolfpack Football NFL NFL Draft 2013 Outside Linebackers Princeton Tigers Football Running Backs Safeties Tight Ends Washington State Cougars Football Zac Dysert Zach Sudfeld