There are many mock drafts out there expressing countless different opinions on what is best for the future of a team. Often the debate around them is focused not so much on the individual players taken but on how the mock draft addresses a team’s perceived needs. This article takes a simplistic look at this by asking the question: What if the Cincinnati Bengals focused exclusively on either offense or defense in the 2017 NFL Draft? Below are two five-round Bengals mock drafts. The first is composed entirely of offensive players, the second (indented) is composed entirely of defensive players. In reality the Bengals will obviously draft a mix, but for the sake of argument which do you like prefer?
1st Round 9th Overall Selection
Christian McCaffrey 5’11” 202 RB Stanford
With Christian McCaffrey, the Bengals acquire the most versatile and dynamic offensive playmaker in the draft. If the Bengals’ focus in the draft is on offense, some people would have them go receiver here, but with Giovanni Bernard coming back from ACL surgery and Jeremy Hill’s play deteriorating prematurely the Bengals look to obtain a big time running back.
Derek Barnett 6’3” 259 DE Tennessee
The Bengals need a pass rusher and Derek Barnett is a sack machine who broke Reggie White’s school record at Tennessee. Barnett is quick off the ball and has excellent hands which help him disengage from blocks.
2nd Round 41st Overall Selection
Zay Jones 6’2” 201 WR East Carolina
The Bengals like prospects that produce. Zay Jones broke the all time Division1 FBS record for career receptions. Put that together with excellent hands and a 4.45 forty and you have a dangerous NFL receiver.
Jarrad Davis 6’1” 238 LB Florida
Kevin Minter only signed a one year deal and we have seen a very limited number of snaps out of Nick Vigil. Jarrad Davis is a big physical linebacker who would add athleticism to Bengals’ defense. His frame and athletic ability are reminiscent of a young Karlos Dansby.
3rd Round 73rd Overall Selection
Jake Butt 6’5” 246 TE Michigan
There has been lots of talk that Alabama’s O.J. Howard may be the best athlete available at the 9th pick, however prior to injury Jake Butt was the most talked about tight end in college football. Butt is not as refined a blocker as Howard, but he has been very productive in the pass game. Even if Butt is unable to play this season, he would provide an in-house replacement if the team is unable to re-sign Tyler Eifert following the season.
Justin Evans 6’ 199 S Texas A&M
Justin Evans is a versatile big hitting safety who could thrive as a nickel of dime in substitution packages. He has also shown the ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers man to man.
4th Round 116th Overall Selection
Dorian Johnson 6’5” 300 OG Pittsburg
Dorian Johnson plays meaner than any other lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft. He is a strong and physical player, but his athletic ability has been called into question.
Keionta Davis 6’3” 271 DE UT-Chattanooga
The Bengals head back to Tennessee to find another pass rusher, this time UT-Chattanooga’s Keionta Davis. Davis has excellent pass rush skills and is build thick enough to develop into a nickel defensive tackle.
4th Round 138th Overall Selection (Compensatory)
James Conner 6’1” 233 RB Pittsburgh
James Conner is perhaps the greatest story in this draft. After a monster sophomore season, he was diagnosed the Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a junior. Conner fought back from this diagnosis beating cancer and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior while earning all-conference honors. Obviously Conner is a fighter, and if he can get himself back to where he was a sophomore he could be the steal of this draft. If not he would still be a solid offensive contributor and an asset to the locker room atmosphere.
Kendell Beckwith 6’2” 243 LB Louisiana State
The Bengals love LSU Tigers. Kendall Beckwith is a physical, athletic linebacker who could compete on defense and contribute on special teams.
5th Round 153rd Overall Selection
Taywan Taylor 5’11” 203 WR Western Kentucky
Taywan Taylor is a speedy receiver who could stretch the field for the Bengals from the slot. He was a huge producer at Western Kentucky where he was a constant big play threat.
Dalvin Tomlinson 6’3” 310 DT Alabama
In Dalvin Tomlinson the Bengals gain another big body to compete at the nose tackle position. If Tomlinson is still available at this point he would be an incredible value and could challenge Andrew Billings and Pat Sims in the fall.
5th Round 176th Overall Selection (Compensatory)
Brad Seaton OT 6’9” 311 Villanova
Brad Seaton is a big body from a small school. He would be a developmental prospect at offensive tackle with huge upside.
Channing Stribling 6’1” 188 CB Michigan
Channing Stribling did not have a good combine. In fact, his numbers were bad. Despite his athletic limitations, Stribling is someone who catches your eye whenever you watch Michigan’s defensive film because he is constantly making plays. Stribling could be an excellent role player in the NFL for a coach who understands his limitations, and doesn’t ask him to do anything that he cannot do.
So which mock draft do you like better?
Offensive Mock Draft
1 Christian McCaffrey 5’11” 202 RB Stanford
2 Zay Jones 6’2” 201 WR East Carolina
3 Jake Butt 6’5” 246 TE Michigan
4 Dorian Johnson 6’5” 300 OG Pittsburg
4 James Conner 6’1” 233 RB Pittsburg
5 Taywan Taylor 5’11” 203 WR Western Kentucky
5 Brad Seaton OT 6’9” 311 Villanova
Defensive Mock Draft
1 Derek Barnett 6’3” 259 DE Tennessee
2 Jarrad Davis 6’1” 238 LB Florida
3 Justin Evans 6’ 199 S Texas A&M
4 Keionta Davis 6’3” 271 DE UT-Chatanooga
4 Kendell Beckwith 6’2” 243 LB Louisiana State
5 Dalvin Tomlinson 6’3” 310 DT Alabama
5 Channing Stribling 6’1” 188 DB Michigan