Sep 7, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) points to South Florida Bulls offense during the 2nd half at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 21-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals 2014 NFL Draft: The Players, The Picks, The Fit


Dec 7, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) breaks up a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

5’11″, 199 LBs.

The Player

Dennard is a very physical corner who loves to get into it with the wide receiver at the line and use his hands to throw off the timing of the receiver and reroute them. He has concerns with not only his long speed, but also his short area quickness and his ability to flip his hips in coverage. He tends to lose a few steps and get very grabby down the field to compensate.

The Pick

I thought this was a reach to fill a need when better players like Jason Verrett and Bradley Roby were still on the board. Dennard seems maxed out as a prospect and has worrying physical limitations for a corner that don’t look like they can improve.

The Fit

I think Dennard has an opportunity to start but he is ideally their second or third cornerback. He is a guy who can be effective, but certainly not someone who is covering a number one and Dennard should never be on an island. I think he can be a solid contributor, just not someone who can contribute as a number one guy.

 

Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

6’1″, 233 lbs.

The Player

Hill is a big, powerful runner who comes downhill like an avalanche and can plow through defenses. However, his vision is not very good, doesn’t change direction very well and is really a one speed runner. Also, there are various off the field issues.

The Pick

One of the first backs off the board and not even close to being among the highest rated. Not only did they reach for him, but he realistically is their back up.

The Fit

Gio Bernard is a stud and there is no way Hill over takes him on the depth chart. Hill can split carries with Bernard as the change of pace guy and maybe increase the load over the course of the year.

 

Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

6’6″, 271 lbs.

The Player

Clarke is a freakish athlete and has a ridiculous frame. He flashes his athletic ability, but only occasionally. Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane type of player. His success will be predicated on the Bengals being able to develop his tools.

The Pick

He is a project and I think the Bengals reached for him a bit. If they wanted a freak defensive lineman, Taylor Hart was still available.

The Fit

Clarke has a chance to get a lot of snaps this year. Bengals love to rotate the line and with Michael Johnson gone, Clarke and Margus Hunt could compete for the other defensive end spot.

Oct 5, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Will Clarke (98) chases Baylor Bears quarterback Seth Russell (17) during the second half at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Mountaineers 73-42. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Bodine, C, UNC

6’3″, 310 lbs.

The Player

Bodine is a powerful player, but his tech is so bad. Has clumsy feet and his hands are a mess when blocking. I can see some appeal as a project, but he isn’t a football player right now.

The Pick

Tremendous reach when a guy like Tyler Larsen is right there. Bad pick.

The Fit

I know the Bengals need help at center, so maybe Bodine has a shot to start, but I am not sure how good he will be if it happens.

 

AJ McCarron, Winner, Alabama

6’3″, 220 lbs.

The Player

I don’t have much positive to say about AJ McCarron. He has good size, but he has a mediocre arm, isn’t very accurate, he’s a bad decision maker, horrible under pressure, isn’t a great athlete and there have been documented personality issues.

The Pick

One of my lowest ranked players, this was a very, very bad pick by the Bengals. I understand that they may want to push Andy Dalton, but drafting an incredibly poor man’s version of him is no way to do so.

The Fit

AJ McCarron will sit on the depth chart as the third QB and possibly push for Jason Campbell’s job, but I don’t see a world where McCarron sticks around very long, let alone threatens the starting job.

 

Marquis Flowers, LB/S, Arizona

6’2″, 231 lbs.

The Player

Flowers has very good movement skills and is a good player in coverage. He does tend to get lost when defending the run and gets pushed around a lot. I think he is best suited to play SS where he is not taking on blocks on a consistent basis.

The Pick

I like Flowers tools actually and think he was a solid late addition for the Bengals. However, Dion Bailey was still available and he offers the same as Flowers, but much better.

The Fit

Flowers could push for Taylor Mays’ job as Big Nickel. He is much more fluid and has better instincts so it is possible.

 

James Wright, WR, LSU

6’1″, 202 lbs.

The Player

Solid sized player who was buried on the LSU depth chart.

The Pick

A bit of a head scratcher. Not much tape out there on Wright and he was selected before receivers like Michael Campanaro.

The Fit

The Bengals has very good receiver depth. Not sure where Wright fits in the long run. Seems like a wasted pick.

 

Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern

5’11″, 186 lbs.

The Player

Physical corner who is strong at the line and is a willing tackler. Very good athlete who closes on the ball well. He does need to improve his instincts as he can often seem lost in coverage and gets faked out by receivers.

The Pick

Westbrooks has lots of upside so I like spending a late pick on him.

The Fit

A former safety, Westbrooks could compete for any spot in the Bengals defensive backfield. It is doubtful he sees a lot of snaps anywhere this year outside of special teams.

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