Bengals Mock Draft 12.0: Taking a national sampling as LB still in play, but DE, WR in mix
NOTE: Since the 2016 Bengals regular season ended Local12.com has taken a look at different mock draft and draft scenarios for the team each week, including the second full seven-round mock draft (with projected compensatory picks and highlights of each player) last week, and this is the latest in the series:
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Just because the Bengals signed free agent linebacker Kevin Minter doesn't mean the team still won't be in the market to draft one fairly high, and perhaps even in the first round.
Minter only signed a one-year contract and, even after his signing, the position is still a bit thin.
He is expected to start at middle linebacker in place of Rey Maualuga, who saw his playing time dwindle sharply in 2016 due to injury and unproductive play.
The only other proven linebackers on the roster are standout Vontaze Burfict (who hasn't played a full season since 2013 and played just 26 games the last three seasons combined due to injury and suspension) and Vinny Rey, who is best utilized in a utility role rather than as a starter.
Second-year player Nick Vigil will likely push for a starting spot on the outside, while Marquis Flowers has primarily only played special teams and 2015 third-round pick P.J. Dawson was waived in the final cut last season and then re-signed to the practice squad.
The bottom line is the Bengals still need more quality players at the position even after signing Minter.
Several Mock Drafts have the Bengals still selecting Alabama middle linebacker Reuben Foster in the first round, including the one I did last week prior to the team signing Minter. Among those who have the Bengals taking Foster are:
- DraftSite.com (click here for its latest full seven-round Mock Draft, which includes the Bengals taking a cornerback and an outside linebacker in the next two rounds)
- Peter Schrager of Fox Sports and NFL Network, who did a Mock for the first two rounds and has the Bengals taking Florida cornerback Teez Tabor in the second round
- Bucky Brooks and Charlie Casserly of NFL.com
- Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com
- Jared Dubin of CBSSports.com
The Bengals could also use an upgrade at one of the defensive end spots where veteran Michael Johnson is coming off two unproductive seasons in which he had 8.5 sacks combined.
With that in mind, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has the Bengals selecting Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett. Chad Reuter of NFL.com selected Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, whose stock has moved up and down several draft boards of late. Rob Rang of CBSSports.com/SportXchange went with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton.
There is also the possibility the Bengals draft a wide receiver in the first round even after the team re-signed veteran Brandon LaFell.
Even though he didn't participate in the Scouting Combine due to recovery time from ankle surgery Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis is the Bengals pick by DraftTek.com (click here for its full seven-round Mock), and of three CBSSports.com analysts: Pete Prisco, Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson (click here for their Mock drafts).
Josh Norris of Rotoworld also has the Bengals selecting a wide receiver in the first round: Washington speedster John Ross.
Earlier Mock Draft Stories
Here is a link to each of the 10 previous Mock Draft stories from Local12.com this offseason:
- Mock Draft 1.0: Bengals could get pick of Alabama linebackers
- Mock Draft 2.0: Getting help for Dalton
- Mock Draft 3.0: Looking to improve pass rush
- Mock Draft 4.0: Pass rusher or linebacker could be on the board
- Mock Draft 5.0: Consensus builds for defensive pick and a deeper dive
- Mock Draft 6.0: Local12.com Mock - Seven rounds (plus) of Bengals picks
- Mock Draft 7.0: Taking a sampling of national mocks
- Mock Draft 8.0: Ranking top 5 potential first-round picks
- Mock Draft 9.0: Grading a couple of full seven round Mocks
- Mock Draft 10.0: Taking a post-Combine sampling of national first-round picks
- Mock Draft 11.0: Local12.com Mock - Seven rounds of Bengals picks, including four compensatory picks