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Devin Bush
AP
Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Bengals

by Josh Norris

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: RG John Miller, CB B.W. Webb, DE Kerry Wynn.

Starting Offense

QB: Andy Dalton
RB: Joe Mixon
WR: A.J. Green
WR: John Ross
SLWR: Tyler Boyd
TE: Tyler Eifert
LT: Cordy Glenn
LG: Clint Boling
C: Billy Price
RG: John Miller
RT: Bobby Hart

Starting Defense

RE: Carl Lawson
LE: Carlos Dunlap
NT: Andrew Billings
3T: Geno Atkins
MLB: Preston Brown
WLB: Jordan Evans
SLB: Nick Vigil
LCB: Dre Kirkpatrick
RCB: William Jackson
SCB: Darqueze Dennard
FS: Jessie Bates
SS: Shawn Williams

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Quarterback: Given a 120-start sample size, we can fairly confidently call Dalton a sum of his parts and not a teammate elevator. Free of any dead money, the Bengals would create $16.2 million in cap room by parting with Dalton this offseason, or $17.7 million in the next. Dalton has topped 7.5 yards per attempt once in his eight-year career and contributed to three straight losing seasons. Let’s aim higher.

Offensive Line: Cincinnati’s line improved on its 2017 performance, but that didn’t mean its front five became actually good. The Bengals finished 26th in tackle for loss rate allowed (25.6%), 22nd in Adjusted Line Yards and 19th in Adjusted Sack Rate, trotting out swinging-gate starters RT Hart, RG Redmond, C Price and LT Glenn. Only LG Boling held his individual own. An early-round offensive tackle could push for playing time immediately on either side.

Linebacker: Only four defenses allowed more yards per pass attempt than last year’s Bengals (7.9), in large part due their inability to cover on the second level. Only three NFL teams surrendered more receiving yards to running backs (901), and no team allowed more touchdowns to tight ends (10). Cincinnati also rarely entered opponents’ backfields, finishing 29th in tackles for loss (71), 28th in sacks (34) and 25th in quarterback hits (83).

 

Bengals 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (11). LB Devin Bush, Michigan - Slow linebackers equal a slow defense. That has hurt the Bengals for years. Based on the contract he received, Preston Brown will lock down one off-ball linebacker spot for the 2019 season. Adding Bush could change the defense’s success as a whole. He is a missile in the running game and frequently shows comfort in space and recognition to win in coverage.

2 (42). QB Daniel Jones, Duke - I know, moving from Andy Dalton to Daniel Jones might seem like a lateral move. One, we don’t know if Zac Taylor will want to find “his guy.” And two, dropping from Dalton to Jones would save roughly $15 million dollars per year through the extent of the quarterback’s rookie deal. Theoretically, that money could be spent to elevate the talent around the quarterback.

3 (72). T Chuma Edoga, USC - It can be difficult to find a starting caliber tackle outside of round one, yet for some reason, Edoga continues to fly under the tackle discussion. His game is built on his lower half and mirroring in pass protection. He has plenty of right tackle experience and looked exceptional on the left side during Senior Bowl week.

4 (110). DL Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M - The Bengals feature outside players who can push the pocket inside in certain situations. Keke offers that same potential, or teams might put more weight on him and place him inside on a full-time basis. He has the hips and flexibility to make some plays in the backfield.

5 (149). iOL Javon Patterson, Ole Miss - Billy Price is a former first rounder, but the rest of the Bengals interior is replaceable. I’m not saying a fifth rounder is going to start, but I am saying Patterson could develop at either guard spot or center.

6 (183). EDGE Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State - A late round pass rusher with some upside. His best move is a rip move to the outside, working past the quarterback, and motoring back to the passer for the hit.

6 (198). WR Terry Godwin, Georgia - Five sixth-round picks are ridiculous. I’d expect the Bengals to trade at least one or two. Godwin is a super fun slot option whose creates separation in short areas with two-step quickness. He also flashed winning downfield skills.

6 (210). Acquired from Cowboys for Bene Benwikere - LB Otaro Alaka, Texas A&M - Straight forward linebacker who is a sure tackle and offers blitzing upside.

6 (211). S Darius West, Kentucky - If he were ever to see the field, it might be as a big nickel.

6 (213). OL Sua Opeta, Weber State - 95th percentile athleticism, and a possible practice squad developmental player.

7 (223). TE Kendall Blanton, Missouri - Receiving tight end who could fit on the practice squad for a season.

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .