2017 MOCK DRAFT 2.0: Bengals get Dalton help
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - From time to time during the regular season, Local12.com published some NFL mock drafts to target which players may make sense for the Bengals in the coming season. But now that the Bengals draft position has been set at No. 9 overall, it may be easier to forecast who might be available.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com has had the Bengals selecting a starting linebacker from Alabama-- 2016 Butkus Award winner and all-SEC LB Reuben Foster. Whether it's him or Crimson Tide teammate Tim Williams, there's no doubt the Cincinnati defense could use more talent alongside Vontaze Burfict.
Remember, though, the Bengals defense was among the toughest in the NFL to score against in the second half of the season as it allowed just 15.8 points per game over the final eight games.
So perhaps it makes sense to address a need on the offensive line. With the uncertainly surrounding the future of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler in Bengals stripes, and Cedric Ogbuehi's struggles at the NFL level, an option at No. 9 may be another standout from 'Bama in OT Cam Robinson. That's who WalterFootball.com has picked in its recent mock draft. Local 12 analyzed his stock recently.
However, SBNation went a different direction on offense. With the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and New York Jets in the market for starting quarterbacks, and all picking in the top eight, there is a very good chance the top wide receiver in the class may be available. Clemson's Mike Williams could play opposite A.J. Green, adding more firepower to an offense that will get TE Tyler Eifert and RB Gio Bernard (and Green) back from injury. WR Tyler Boyd is coming off of a rookie campaign that included 54 catches and 603 yards.
Williams, a 6-foot-3 redshirt junior who caught 8 balls (including a pair of leaping catches in the final two touchdown drives) for 93 yards and a score in Clemson's national title victory over Alabama, fractured a vertebrae in his neck in the 2015 season-opener and was sidelined the rest of the year. He returned in 2016 and finished the season with 98 receptions for 1361 yards and 11 TD. Williams is expected to be the third wideout from Clemson drafted in the first round since 2013 (Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins).
- PHOTO GALLERY: Clemson's Mike Williams
"Remarkable, just remarkable," Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said to the Associated Press. "You're talking about probably the scariest thing that's in the mind of any football player, that's breaking your neck, and being close to potentially being paralyzed and never walking again. And he came back even better than he was before he got hurt."