The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books. Speaking frankly, we’re pretty excited about this year’s haul for the Cincinnati Bengals. They addressed their biggest needs with players who can each make an impact early and often. Their mid and late-round draft picks have potential. Since Cincinnati lost six one-possession games last year, along with a tie, any improvements can make a difference in the division race – and the playoff picture – for this team.
Let’s get a look at the full list of newbies.
NFL Draft: Meet the New Cincinnati Bengals
1. John Ross (WR, 1st round, pick 9, Washington): He is quicker than the Road Runner when you push the fast-forward button. Ross will force defenses to cover more of the field. That means more touchdowns all around for the O.
2. Joe Mixon (RB, 2nd round, pick 48, Oklahoma): Mixon’s a steal for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL Draft, who were lucky that he was still on the board. He has the talent to work his way up the depth chart at running back. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to use his 4.5 speed … if the O-line can open up some holes.
3. Jordan Willis (DE, 3rd round, pick 73, Kansas State): The Bengals claimed the 2016 Big 12 Defensive PoY with this pick. He collected 21 sacks over two seasons, so he can bring the heat – which is perhaps Cincinnati’s biggest defensive need.
4. Carl Lawson (DE, 4th round, pick 116, Auburn): Another talented DE who played in a quality conference. He dropped offensive players behind the line 23.5 times in 2016 (sacks and TFLs). He’s had his fair share of injuries, though, so keep your fingers crossed when he’s on the field.
5. Josh Malone (WR, 4th round, pick 128, Tennessee): Malone was productive last year (972 yards, 11 TDs) in a run-heavy offense in the rough-and-tumble SEC. The former 5-star receiver has the talent and opportunity to work his way into the rotation.
6. Ryan Glasgow (DT, 4th round, pick 138, Michigan): Second team All-Big Ten in 2016 who made 8.5 tackles for loss. A good depth-builder at defensive tackle.
7. Jake Elliott (PK, 5th round, pick 153, Memphis): Elliott’s potential impact to the team can’t be overstated. Cincinnati struggled last year with Mike Nugent, who missed six extra points. Six of the Bengals’ games in 2016 could have been won with two field goals or less. If Elliott can continue hitting 80% of his FGs, Cincy’s record could look quite different this year.
8. J.J. Dielman (C, 5th round, pick 176, Utah): He played at Utah, stands 6’5″ and weighs 300 pounds. Now you know as much as we do.
9. Jordan Evans (ILB, 6th round, pick 193, Oklahoma): Evans has good speed and size for a linebacker and has equally good football pedigree – his dad Scott was an all-conference DT for Oklahoma in the mid-to-late 1980s. Jordan was fast enough to intercept four passes in 2016. We say he’s got a bright future ahead.
10. Brandon Wilson (CB, 6th round, pick 207, Houston): Started 40 games over four years and has good game experience. It’s a big step, though, from the American Athletic Conference to the American Football Conference. He’ll need time to develop.
11. Mason Schreck (TE, 7th round, pick 251, Buffalo): Exploded last year with 59 catches for 651 yards and 4 TDs. He has good size (6’4″, 258). And it won’t hurt that he’s learning the position from Tyler Eifert.