After landing Ohio State's Billy Price in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft to anchor their center position from day 1 of his career, the Bengals added what they hope is a big play maker to their secondary in the second round by nabbing James Bates III, a safety, out of Wake Forest.
The Bengals have been trying to upgrade their secondary, which had a woeful 15 interceptions last year. The new defensive coordinator has been trying to upgrade his safety play all offseason, which means George Iloka, who signed a big contract after the 2015 season, and Shawn Williams, who also signed an extensions after the 2015 season, are on notice. And one of them may get cut. If Bates plays well in camp.
In the third round, I thought Cincy would try and work on their offensive line some more and maybe a tight end, but the Bengals feel they've gone after the offensive line in the offseason and went defense in the third round after trading back and up. They ended up with the 77 and 78 picks. They went with the homegrown kid, Sam Hubbard, a defensive end out of Ohio State with pick 77 and then they went with a linebacker, Malik Jefferson, out of Texas.
Both players help the defense. The Bengals have been trying to upgrade their depth at defensive end, grabbing Jordan Willis in the third round. It's no surprise they go back there this year with Hubbard. With the depth at linebacker taking a massive hit over the past few years - due to the Bengals missing on a lot of draft picks at the position, the Bengals had to address the LB position. Jefferson would certainly see a lot of time early with Burfict's four game suspension.
Now on to the fourth round. Here are some of the guys I could see the Bengals going with
Tyrell Crosby - Oregon
Jamaica Jones- Ohio State
Will Richards - NC State
Mo Hurst - Michigan
Tim Settle - V. Tech
Rj McIntosh - Miami
Da'Shawn Hand - Alabama
Kevin Tolliver II - LSU
Anthony Averett - Alabama
Luke Falk - WSU
Kyle Lauletta - Richmond
Shaq Griffin - UCF
There is a ton of talent still on the board. Remember the Bengals landed two stellar picks in the fourth round over the past decade: Geno Atkins and Carl Lawson.