In a tightly contested division like the AFC North, a solid draft class can have a huge impact. With the Cincinnati Bengals hoping for just that, I got together with Stripe Hype’s David Petrocelli for his take on what the Bengals need to do and his hopes for the 2015 NFL Draft.
Below are my questions followed by David’d answers.
1. How have the team’s draft needs changed since free agency opened?
"The addition of A.J. Hawk at linebacker should help the team’s depth at the position. It doesn’t alleviate the team’s need to add linebackers in the draft, but will help them avoid “reaching” for a selection.Michael Johnson’s addition likely filled out the Bengals’ depth chart at defensive end. Johnson played over 80% of the Bengals’ defensive snaps in the past. With he and Carlos Dunlap bookending the line, the starters seem set. Wallace Gilberry moves back to a rotational role where he proved more effective in the past while high draft selections Margus Hunt, and Will Clarke round out the group.Retaining Clint Boling was huge for the offensive line, as the team has now will return its starting group in 2015. Eric Winston provides important tackle depth, something the team has lacked since Anthony Collins’ departure in 2014. The team still needs to draft a tackle for the future."
2. What would you say are the top three needs remaining?
"Defensive Tackle, Tight End, Outside Linebacker"
3. Are there any prospects that have caught your eye so far?
"Alvin Dupree has been mentioned with the Bengals in many mock drafts, including Fansided. He is a solid pass rusher with the ability to adjust on the go. Because the Bengals already have five defensive ends, if they were to draft Dupree, they’d have to either cut one currently under contract or carry an extra this year.A starting defensive tackle would be huge. Because these go early, the Bengals may be prudent to draft one in the first. Malcom Brown would be a great disruptor alongside Geno Atkins while Eddie Goldman would demand double-teams and help stop the run, which is vital in the AFC North.Andrus Peat would be an amazing find at 21. He’d give the Bengals a tackle for the future."
4. What do you think would make for a successful draft for your team?
"With nine selections this year, the Bengals shouldn’t have to reach with their selections. That said, with the “window closing” on this current rosters’ chances of winning in the playoffs, as well as Marvin Lewis’ future possibly, the Bengals will need to fill some “needs” they have. Adding defensive talent should be the focus as the unit struggled in 2014."
5. So much draft focus often goes to the first few rounds, but is there something you’d like to see your team do in the later rounds?
"The Bengals need to replenish depth. They are likely moving on from Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert has struggled to stay healthy. Adding a young tight end(s) such as Blake Bell or Tyler Kroft (if healthy) would give the Bengals a blocker at the position who also possesses the potential to develop as a receiver."
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