Last week, I took a look at players the Bengals could be targeting on days one and two with each of their picks in the first thee rounds. With the Bengals owning eight picks in the final four rounds, they will be able to pick valuable depth. Last season, the Bengals had seven starters in which they have picked on the final day of the draft, including all-pro Geno Atkins and pro-bowl punter Kevin Huber. The other starters include Clint Boling, Russell Bodine, Josh Shaw, Domata Peko, and Shawn Williams. This doesn’t include Marvin Jones, A.J. McCarron, or Rex Burkhead who have been contributors to the Bengals recent run of success. This crop of players is proof that hitting on a handful of day three prospects can make an average team to the next level. The following list is at least one player at each position that could be a target on Saturday.
Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (6th-7th round)
Barring a draft day trade of AJ McCarron, the Bengals will probably not be taking a signal caller in this draft. They kept Jeff Driskel on the roster last season, grooming him to be the next backup to Andy Dalton. However, if they take on, Kelly is an interesting option. Off the field issues and inconsistencies will cause him to go late, but he was once considered a legitimate NFL quarterback.
Corey Clement, Wisconsin (6th round)
The only RBs that the Bengals brought in for visits are Fournette, Cook, Mixon and two players who will be undrafted. This tells you that if they pick a RB, it will probably be early. However, if they do wait, Corey Clement could be that guy. Even though Bernard is coming off ACL surgery, I expect them to go after an early down type of back. At 5’10 220, Clement has the build to fit that need, and he doesn’t have much tread on the tires.
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M (4th round)
I don’t believe some of the reports that the Bengals will double up at receiver during the draft. Their group includes five players who made saw significant contribution last season, all of whom that are going into their 2nd year or are tied up for multiple years. That being said, they are going to draft one. If they don’t grab one early, I think Reynolds would be the perfect match in round four. At just under 6’3″, Reynolds has a game similar to Marvin Jones (can stretch the field and above average jump ball skills), another WR that was taken on day three by the Bengals.
Ishmael Zamora, Baylor (7th round-UDFA)
Zamora is another player whose draft stock has plummeted due to off the field issues. He was seen on video kicking his dog. Without that, he would be looked at more in the 3rd to 5th round range. Zamora is a physical specimen at 6’3″ 220 pounds, and uses his body to his advantage on contested catches, often boxing out opposing defenders. Although he was unable to perform at the combine, his tape shows enough speed to gain the little separation he needs.
Michael Roberts, Toledo (4th-5th round)
I’m convinced that the only way Cincinnati picks a TE is if it is OJ Howard in the first round, or David Njoku or Evan Engram in the second round. They already have two day-three tight ends on their roster who showed flashes at times last season when Tyler Eifert missed the majority of the year. Eifert’s contract is up at the end of the season and his injury history might make the Bengals hesitant to re-up. If anyone on Saturday excites them, it may be touchdown machine Michael Roberts. The six-foot four converted wideout caught 16 touchdowns for Toldeo, the most of any FBS tight end.
Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell (4th round)
Offensive tackle will be addressed during the draft. The book is still out on former first and second rounders Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, the two 3rd year starting tackles. They lost longtime leader Andrew Whitworth, and will need depth and a possible future starter. Julie’n Davenport could be that guy. When the Bengals replace players, they like to find a guy with similar build. Davenport, like Whitworth, is 6’7″, and from all reports, a top-notch character guy. While still raw, he could be a perfect guy to develop as Ced and Fisher get one more shot.
Conor McDermott, UCLA (6th Round)
The Bengals may draft multiple tackles, but they will definitely pick multiple offensive lineman. McDermott is a player with a lot of upside standing at 6’8. This may be have caused his stock to drop some as it hurts him in leverage with edge rushers. Due to his basketball background (Mr. Basketball in Tennessee in 2011), he has great balance and footwork, but a smaller lower body sometime cause him to get out-muscled.
Interior Offensive Line
Michael Coe, North Dakota (7th round-UDFA)
Russell Bodine is the weak link. That has been the mantra from Cincinnati over the past three seasons. After trading up in the 2014 draft to get Bodine, he has started from day one and been often criticized. The Bengals love to draft players one year ahead of need, so a interior lineman or two will probably be used with the 11 picks. Michael Coe is an interesting name to keep an eye on. Due to lack of size, he projects as a center, but the former D2 and then FCS Coe has the positional versatility to get picked in the late rounds. He started 21 games at tackle, 10 at guard, and 5 at center. The Bengals love for the OL to play multiple positions. They also love guys with pure strength. If invited to the combine, Coe’s 31 reps on bench press would have been 4th among interior lineman and 1st among centers.
Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M (4th round)
Myles Garrett was the star on the Texas A&M defense, but he wasn’t the only one who is going to be picked this weekend from that defensive line. Daeshon Hall was the edge rusher opposite of Garrett and looks identical. He is also 6’5″ (a coveted measurable for the Bengals among DE), just shy of 270 and has a 35 inch arms. Hall never did break out, which disappointed scouts as Garrett received all of the double teams, but his athleticism and length is going get him drafted early on day three. He looks the part of a Bengals edge rusher and don’t be surprised to see him in black and orange come August.
Interior Defensive Lineman
Josh Tupou, Colorado (7th round-UDFA)
I am not purposefully putting another guy with character concerns, but Tupou just makes sense for what the Bengals need for another rotation tackle on the d-line. The Bengals need to find their next Domata Peko, and Andrew Billings may be that guy. After missing his entire rookie season due to a knee injury during camp, he will rotate with Pat Sims and Wallace Gilberry. He still is more of the Atkins mold of interior pass rusher. Peko’s job was to take up space and and open lanes for the linebackers. Topou does that as well as any other day three prospect. At 350 pounds, he can stuff lanes and give Burfict and Minter shots on backs. He could be worth a late flyer.
Jordan Evans, Oklahoma (5th-6th Round)
Mike Brown loves productive players from power five schools, especially at linebacker, a la Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict. Jordan Evans was just that at Oklahoma. The three-year starter compiled just shy of 300 tackles during his time as a Sooner, but it was his improvement in the passing game that makes him intriguing. After just 9 pass breakups and one interception through his first three seasons, Evans has 12 breakups and four interceptions, including two for scores, as a senior. He has the speed to keep up with tight ends and the instincts to make plays on the ball. His lack on consistency will make him a late day three selection, but he has a high ceiling projecting as a possible three down backer. Evans also worked out for the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Demontae Kazee, San Diego St. (4th-6th round)
Cornerback is not a need. They have used three first round picks on one in the last five years, all of which are still on the team (Kirkpatrick, Dennard, Jackson III). They also have Pacman, Keivare Russell, Ben Benewikere, and Josh Shaw. However, Pacman got in more legal trouble, Dennard has disappointed, Jackson III missed his entire rookie year, and the other three aren’t proven guys. If they do take one, it will be a nickel corner. Kazee is just that, standing at 5’10. Although he played outside in college, his size, and lack of top-end speed project him more as a slot guy. He was a ball-hawk at SDSU, intercepting 15 passes over his final two years. He also worked out for the Bengals during the draft process.
Mike Tyson, Cincinnati (7th round-UDFA)
Besides having an great name, Tyson was a solid centerfielder for the Bearcats defense during his time at the University of Cincinnati. Although he only started consistently for one season, he piled up 5 interceptions last year, and showed flashes of being a real playmaker. He would provide depth at safety as well as production of special teams. With measurables similar to Reggie Nelson, combined with playing his college ball at UC, Tyson will be on the Bengals radar in round seven, or as a priority free agent.
Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State (5th-6th round)
The Bengals have used only picked three kickers since 1990 and haven’t taken one since 2002, so history says they won’t select one. However, anyone who watched them last year won’t be sad if they take one this year. In fact, I am under the belief that it is a need. With a consistent kicker in 2016, the Bengals may have won 8 or 9 games, but Mike Nugent and Randy Bullock couldn’t get the job done. Bullock was resigned in the off-season, but Marvin Lewis said there would be competition in training camp. Zane Gonzalez may cost a 5th round (or shockingly higher), his impact on games could be worth much more than that. No FBS kicker has ever made (or attempted) more field goals than Gonzalez did at ASU, and he did it with accuracy and length. He wasn’t on the NFL radar until his senior year, when he made 13 of 15 tries from 40+ years, as well as 7 from 50+ including a 59 yarder. His obsessive compulsive disorder allows him to block out distractions and focus on his routine, a crucial part of being a kicker. I fully expect the Bengals to do what they can to take Gonzalez this weekend.
Austin Rehkow, P, Idaho (5th-7th round)
Kevin Huber is entering his final year of his contract, none of which is guaranteed, and is coming off his worst season in the pros. Although he has been a may stay, and fan favorite as the hometown guy (played HS and college in Cincinnati), his time may be winding down. It’s not a surefire need, but could be an option. Rehkow is the best punter in this years class.
Cincinnati holds eight picks over the final four rounds, so I imagine they will pick a plethora of positions. With depth needed all over the field on both sides of the ball, there is no telling what positions they will focus on. I doubt QB or CB will be any of the picks, but all of the other ones are certainly in play. As Saturday winds down, don’t be surprised to see the Bengals moving up at some point (4th or 5th round) to grab a player they really like, since they have so many picks to play with.
Here is my perfect day three for the Bengals given that they would have already taken OJ Howard, Joe Mixon, and Ryan Anderson.
4th Round (): Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M and Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M (trade up to get, giving the 6th round compensatory)
5th Round (): Jordan Evans, LB, Oklahoma and Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona St.
6th Round: Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA
7th Round: Josh Tupou, DT, Colorado and Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati