Hope springs eternal tomorrow for every NFL team (well, except the Pats who lost their first round pick as part of their punishment for deflategate).
Here is my top ten wish list for players the Bengals could nab 24th overall. And maybe with a little luck, 55th overall in the second round.
This also takes into consideration the top ten players will be off the board early.
1. Andrew Billings - DT Baylor. I love this kid. He'd be a great fit alongside Geno Atkins as a nose tackle.
2. Laquan Treadwell - WR Ole Miss. Now this is with the expectation that he will slide past the Texans and Vikes who pick before us. Mel Kiper JR. referred to him as the next Anquan Bolden. I'll take that opposite AJ Green. His hands are huge and he can pluck the ball out of the air. He lacks great speed, but Andy Dalton doesn't have a rifle for an army anyway, so it's better to have someone who can fight for contested catches (something Marvin Jones and Mo Sanu were great at).
3. Josh Doctson - WR TCU. How great would it be to go back to Dalton's alma matter to get him another weapon in the passing game. Doctson has some descent speed and is great at contested catches. If he is there at #24, the Bengals should draft him immediately. The last WR the Bengals drafted
4. Jarran Reed - DT Alabama. The Bengals love their SEC players, but they haven't taken one in the first round in the Marvin Lewis era. But there has to be a first, right? This guy would be great as a nose tackle.
5. A'Shawn Robinson - DT Alabama - Reed's line mate at 'Bama. He'd be a force on the interior, making it easier for Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Michael Johnson to pressure the quarterback.
6. Shaq Lawson - DE Clemson. The Bengals haven't taken a DE in round one either. But it's hard to turn away excellent pass rushers - just look at what won Denver the Super Bowl last year. What a rotation it would be with Johnson, Dunlap, and Lawson as edge rushers.
7. Vernon Butler - DT Louisiana Tech - The Bengals usually don't draft small school kids in the first round, but this kid has the bulk and long arms the Bengals love in their defensive linemen. He'd be a great replacement for Domata Peko in another year.
8. Reggie Ragland - LB Alabama. In keeping with their love for the SEC, I could see this pick happening. Ragland would replace Rey Mauluga next year at linebacker, but the Bengals usually try to fill linebacker in the middle rounds. Their secondary is full of first rounders and their defensive line has Pro Bowlers, so they can afford to be a little light talent wise at the linebacker position.
9. Corey Coleman - WR Baylor. Marvin Lewis has drafted taller wideouts, but he has also tried for some short ones - he just missed out on Devery Henderson in 2006 when the Saints took them ahead of the Bengals. He'd bring speed and playmaking ability to the receiver corp.
10. William Jackson III - CB Houston. If it's one position Cincy loves to draft in the late first round, it's the corner position (see Jonathan Joseph and Darqueez Denard). And Jackson fits their mold for a corner. He could step in and start opposite Adam Jones in 2017.
Five players I hope they avoid
1. Will Fuller - WR Notre Dame. I love his speed, but he drops the ball often. Plus, Dalton's arm is not great, so the long ball is not what our offense is built around.
2. Ryan Kelly - C Alabama. I just don't see the value in taking a center this high. Maybe if they trade back. The Bengals treat C like LB: it's not a high value area (unlike QB, LT, CB, and DE), so you can get by with mid round picks.
3. Leonard Floyd - OLB Georgia. I usually love Georgia players for the Bengals, but after the horrible one/two selection of David Pollack (OLB) and Odell Thurman (ILB), I'd hate to see them spend a first round pick on another one.
4. Noah Spence - DE/OLB Easter Kentucky. He was a top recruit for Ohio State, but got into trouble. Not what Cincy needs in terms of character red flags.
5. Leonte Caroo - WR Rutgers. For the same reason as Spence.