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Sep 5, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner (24) carries the ball against the Youngstown State Penguins during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

 

Bengals 7-Round Mock Draft 2.0

This year’s draft will be critical for getting the Cincinnati Bengals back on track.  The Bengals will likely look to add a player who can have an immediate impact in the first round.  On the second day, they will probably find players who can contribute in some way next year.  As the draft goes on, they will look for depth, competition, and value.

1st Round 9th Overall Selection

Derek Barnett 6’3” 259 DE Tennessee

Barnett should be the best fit of any player available.  Some people don’t have him ranked as a top ten player, but he will likely be the best edge pass rusher available at nine.  After notching ten sack seasons in both 2014 and 2015, Barnett had 13 sacks in 2016.

2nd Round 41st Overall Selection

Zay Jones 6’2” 201 WR East Carolina

The Bengals love players who produce, and Jones produced more career receptions than anyone else in FBS history.  He also broke the single-season receptions record in 2016 when he caught 158 passes for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns.  Jones is an excellent route runner with speed and great hands.  He would be an excellent fit for the Bengals who are in need of another deep threat.

3rd Round 73rd Overall Selection

Adam Shaheen 6’6” 278 TE Ashland

I like to refer to Shaheen as “D2 Gronk.”  He has a massive frame and is a skilled receiver.  Shaheen started his college career as a basketball player, and with his size will be a nightmare to cover in the red zone.  Level of competition is a concern, but his size and athletic ability certainly bode well for his NFL future.  Shaheen had 57 receptions for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

4th Round 116th Overall Selection

James Conner 6’1” 233 Pittsburgh

Conner ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore.  He then tore his MCL in the first game of his junior season which ended up being extremely fortuitous.  Due to this injury, he was diagnosed with cancer at an early stage and defeated it over the next year.  As a senior he rushed for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns.  Conner is obviously a fighter, and given that he seemed to improve over the course of his senior year, he is probably still getting his strength back.  Who wouldn’t want this guy in their backfield?

4th Round 138th Overall Selection (Compensatory)

Dorian Johnson 6’5” 300 OG Pittsburgh

Johnson is a value pick at this point who brings a roughness to the position that the Bengals are in need of.  He is a physical player who finishes blocks on his terms.  The only knock on Johnson is that he may lack the athleticism to be effective in space.

5th Round 153rd Overall Selection

T.J. Logan 5’9” 196 RB North Carolina

If Giovani Bernard has recovered before the season starts, Logan can fit into Rex Burkhead adding depth to the running back position as well as the ability to contribute on special teams.  If Bernard is not ready to go, Logan would be a suitable third down back.  In 2016 Logan had 675 rushing yards and 244 receiving yards.  He also scored seven rushing touchdowns, three receiving touchdowns, and two kick-return touchdowns.

5th Round 176th Overall Selection (Compensatory)

Keionta Davis 6’3” 271 DE Tennessee-Chattanooga

Davis adds depth and versatility to the defensive line.  While his primary position is defensive end, he is big enough to kick down inside, particularly on passing downs.  Davis had 10.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss in 2016.

6th Round 193rd Overall Selection

John Johnson 6’ 208 S Boston College

Johnson is a versatile player who has played both corner and safety in his college career.  While the Bengals have depth at corner, they lack a true nickel corner and Johnson may be just the right fit.  Johnson had 77 tackles and three interceptions as a senior in 2016.

6th Round 217th Overall Selection (Compensatory)

Steven Taylor 6’1” 225 LB Houston

Taylor is the type of downhill physical linebacker that the Bengals covet.  He is a four year starter who played both inside and outside baker and has excellent pass rush skills.  In his senior season Taylor had 74 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and 8.5 sacks.

7th Round 227th Overall Selection

Dane Evans 6’1”218 QB Tulsa

Evans has an impressive arm that has caught the attention of many NFL scouts.  His most productive season actually came in his junior year in 2015.  That year Evans completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 4,332 yards 25 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.  Evans does not have the size that NFL teams desire in a franchise quarterback, and will have to learn how to perform in a pro style offense.

7th Round 251st Overall Selection (Compensatory)

Eric Medina 5’11” 195 K Texas Southern

Level of competition should have no bearing on whether or not a kicker gets draft.  Medina was 15 of 16 with a long of 51.  I’d give him a shot.