2017 NBA Mock Draft

2017 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 (Pre-Lottery)

This mock draft will factor in team needs heavily rather than who is the best player. The draft order won’t be set in stone until the lottery takes place, but the talk is already starting on who will go number one overall.

Many scouts and experts are picking Markelle Fultz to go first, but it depends on who wins the lottery. Right now these predictions will be based solely off current standings and will continue to be until the draft lottery takes place. Here is Hagan’s Haus 2017 NBA mock draft.

1: Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn): Josh Jackson sG Kansas

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

The Boston Celtics do not need a point guard. Fultz may be the best player in the draft, but Isaiah Thomas isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Thomas is also a proven player while any player coming out of college is unproven.

Fultz may be the best player in the draft but doesn’t fit what the Celtics need. The Celtics play great team defense and need a scorer to take the load off of Thomas.

Josh Jackson could prove to be a valuable scoring option for Boston as he averages 16.7 points per game. Jackson in a two-way player capable of becoming a superstar. Boston would be smart to add him to their core.

2: Los Angeles Lakers: Markelle Fultz pG Washington

Picking what the Lakers will do is extremely difficult. They just spent the 2015 second overall pick on a point guard. The Lakers issue is veteran leadership. They have a core of young players who just need time to develop. L.A. could trade this pick for a star player, but if they do keep it expect them to take the best available player.

That would be Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Fultz is averaging 23.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and six assists per game. Fultz also has a player efficiency rating (PER) of 28.6 and is clearly the best player in the draft. The Lakers can not pass on that just to fill a position of need.

3: Phoenix suns: Jayson Tatum Sf duke

Jayson Tatum has a well-polished iso game that is NBA ready. The Suns have a star in the making with Devin Booker and need to find a player to grow alongside him.

Tatum could grow to be a solid second option in the NBA. He can score anywhere on the floor due to his ability to create off the dribble.

One of his biggest weaknesses is his shot selection. Due to his height and ability to shoot over defenders, Tatum tends to settle for difficult shots. Shot selection will improve over time and the Suns may be able to find a Robin for their Batman.

4: Orlando Magic: Lonzo Ball Pg UCLA

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit:https://www.bostonglobe.com)

Everyone is talking about LaVar Ball’s opinions rather than the play of Lonzo Ball. Ball can ball. It is as simple as that.

His father may be onto something when talking about how good his son can be. However, talking so openly may hurt his son’s draft stock.

Sticking strictly to Lonzo and his basketball ability, it is clear that he is a top prospect. Ball is a great passer with a high basketball I.Q. In the NBA Ball will be a floor general capable of running the team from the court.

Many scouts compare him to Jason Kidd, which is a pretty accurate comparison. Having a Kidd-like career would be an amazing accomplishment for anybody. Orlando needs a franchise player and that is exactly what Lonzo Ball will be.

5: Philadelphia 76ers: Malik Monk Sg Kentucky

Trusting the process hit yet another bump in the road this season. Joel Embiid suffered another injury after appearing in just 31 games. If that wasn’t enough, last year’s first overall pick, Ben Simmons, will not make his debut this year either. The 76ers still believe those pieces will result in playoff appearances and maybe even titles.

Interestingly enough, reports came out that Philadelphia brass believes Simmons will be the point guard. That is why they will use this top-five pick on Malik Monk.

Monk has proven to be a flat-out scoring machine and that will translate to the NBA. Drafting Monk will allow the Sixers to develop Simmons as their point guard while putting a scorer in the backcourt beside him.

Creating a powerful backcourt could be the key to a deep postseason run. They already have a great frontcourt player in Embiid.

6: New York Knicks: Dennis Smith Pg N.C. State

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: William Howard/Icon Sportswire)

The Knicks need a young explosive point guard who will grow alongside Kristaps Porzingis. Carmelo Anthony is on the back half of his career and will most likely be out of the picture soon. Derrick Rose has been very respectable in New York, but he is not the same player that won the league MVP.

Dennis Smith is a top-five talent who will fall a bit due to some of the other needs teams have. Not all are looking for a point guard.

The Knicks would get a Russell Westbrook type of player by drafting Smith. He can score, pass and rebound with the best of them in college. He also has insane athleticism that allows him to posterize defenders.

Smith would be a great pick here if the Knicks want to take steps towards becoming a playoff team.

7: Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Issac PF Florida State

The Kings need to start from scratch. Buddy Hield seems to be the guy that Sacramento will build this team around. It looks like Willie Cauley-Stein will be the man up front with DeMarcus Cousins now out of the picture.

Jonathan Issac would be a great fit with this team. Issac is a great rebounder and can run the floor well for a big man. He also shoots well from all areas of the floor. He could play at small forward or power forward in today’s NBA style. The Kings would find a great player with lots of potential.

8: Sacramento Kings (Via Pelicans): De’Aaron Fox PG Kentucky

The Kings can afford to be risky with one of their two top-10 picks. Buddy Hield will need a backcourt partner in crime, and Fox could fit that mold.

Fox is unique because he is left handed. It is sometimes hard to defend left-handed players because defenders are used to right handed defenders. He is also extremely quick and defenders may have trouble keeping up with him.

Fox will need to work on shooting with more consistency. With Hield alongside him, all Fox needs to do is run the offense.

9: Dallas Mavericks: Lauri Markkanen PF Arizona

2017 NBA Draft

(Photo Credit: http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu)

Dallas got their center when they traded for Nerlens Noel. The guard positions seem to be held down as well with the emergence of Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry. That makes Lauri Markkanen a perfect option for the Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki will be going into his final season and the Mavericks need to find his future replacement. Markkanen is a 7-foot stretch big who will be able to shoot the three in the NBA. He has all the intangibles to replace the greatest European player in NBA history.

Drafting Markkanen will allow him to develop in his first season before Dirk rides off into the sunset.

10: Minnesota Timberwolves: Harry Giles PF Duke

The Minnesota Timberwolves are right on the cusp of becoming a great NBA team. Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins are continuing to grow and will be one of the most dangerous duos in the NBA in the coming years. They have already begun to show signs of it. Point guard is not an issue as they have Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. Picking Giles would be a shock here at number 10, but could be a huge steal.

Giles was considered the best player coming out of high school and was projected to be the number one overall pick before he began having injury problems. We have not seen what Giles is fully capable of, but his potential is through the roof. He is an athletic finisher who can be molded into a great defender under Tom Thibodeau.

This pick could be a bust, but it will more likely create a young core in Minnesota capable of winning championships.

11: Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges SF Michigan St.

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hornets need a solid wing player and Miles Bridges would be a good fit.

Bridges is a dunking machine and plays with an extremely high motor. One of Bridges’ weaknesses is that he has no true position. Shooting guard, small forward and power forward are all in play for Bridges. Charlotte would likely play him at small forward.

Bridges has also shown consistent improvement in his shooting since high school.

12: Portland Trailblazers: Robert Williams PF Texas A&M

Robert Williams can jump out of this world. He can put anyone on a poster and loves to do so. There are countless highlights of him dunking on opponents.

Williams has a 7-foot-5 wingspan, and he knows how to use it. That wingspan allows him to excel as a rebounder and shot blocker.

One thing going against Williams is that he is raw as a big man. He lacks consistency like many raw prospects. The better competition gave him trouble, but with development from NBA coaches, he can turn into a solid NBA starter.

13: Miami Heat: Isaiah Hartenstein PF Germany

The Heat have been amazing in the second half of this season. Hassan Whiteside is a franchise centerpiece at center. Their guard play has been tremendous, and Justise Winslow is really coming into his own. That leaves the power forward position as their biggest need. The Heat need a power forward that can stretch the floor since Whiteside is the inside presence.

Isaiah Hartenstein would be a great fit in Miami. He is a versatile left-handed player who can not only score inside, but outside as well. Hartenstein is a great passing big man with a high basketball I.Q.

The downside with Hartenstein is his immaturity and lack of experience against tough competition. However, his potential makes him a lottery pick.

14: Chicago Bulls: Frank Ntilikina Pg France

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: https://hardwoodhoudini.com

One thing is clear in the NBA: teams need a franchise point guard. The Bulls do not have a franchise point guard on their roster and will be looking for one in this year’s draft. Drafting at the end of the lottery does not leave them with many options, but it will allow them to take Frank Ntilikina out of France.

Ntilikina has excellent size for a point guard. He is listed at 6-foot-5, 190 pounds. Ntilikina is a pass-first point guard with a high I.Q. He has developed a mid-range game and excellent floater, but is a really inconsistent shooter. Ntilikina also has great lateral quickness that makes him an elite defender.

All the skills are there for Ntilikina to become the franchise point guard the Bulls desperately need.

15: Denver Nuggets: John Collins Pf Wake Forest

Denver has a lot of young talent, and Collins is a bit of a project. If the Nuggets take a year or two to develop Collins, then he can become a valuable asset.

16: Milwaukee Bucks: Justin Patton C Creighton

There have been a lot of problems with Greg Monroe in Milwaukee. The Bucks have found a star in Giannis Antetokounmpo and need a big man inside to feed off of him. Justin Patton from Creighton can be that guy.

17: Detroit Pistons: Ivan Rabb C Cal

There have been swirling rumors that Andre Drummond was going to be traded just before the deadline. That still may happen in the offseason, and the Pistons need to prepare for that. Ivan Rabb would be a great fit with Stan Van Gundy.

18: Indiana Pacers: Luke Kennard SG Duke

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Kennard has been unbelievable in the second half of the season for Duke. Paul George is rumored to be on his way out of Indiana via trade or free agency in two years. Kennard may not become a franchise player, but will come into the NBA as a scoring machine.

19: Atlanta hawks: TJ Leaf PF UCLA

Drafting a power forward may not make sense with Paul Millsap around, but TJ Leaf is a bit of a project. Millsap will want to be on a contending team as his career unwinds. Everyone knows the Hawks are not winning a championship. Drafting Leaf now gives him time to develop until Millsap leaves.

20: Portland Trailblazers (Via Memphis): Justin Jackson SF North Carolina

Justin Jackson would be a great fit in Portland alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The two guards can focus on the scoring and Jackson can be the team’s wing defender. Jackson is capable of guarding multiple positions and would be a solid pick by the Trailblazers.

21: Oklahoma City: DILLON BROOKS SF OREGON

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)

It is clear that Russell Westbrook needs help. He is an animal but can’t do it on his own. Dillon Brooks is one of the most underrated players in all of college basketball. Brooks is capable of being the second option to Westbrook and a true sidekick that Westbrook desperately needs.

22: TORONTO RAPTORS: DWAYNE BACON SF FLORIDA STATE

Toronto has one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Bacon can come in and be a solid rotation player allowing the Raptors to deepen their bench as they continue to chase a championship.

23: ORLANDO MAGIC (VIA LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS): TYLER LYDON PF SYRACUSE

Orlando is a tough team to gauge and need a lot. Lydon would be a head-scratching pick, but something they would do. Lydon won’t become an All-Star but will be a solid rotation player in the NBA.

24: Brooklyn Nets (via Washington): JOSH HART SG VILLANOVA

2017 NBA Mock Draft

(Photo Credit: AP)

Brooklyn needs anything and everything and is nowhere close to being a good NBA team. Josh Hart could bring a culture change to the franchise. He is a leader and a winner and the Nets could use some of that in their locker room.

25: BROOKLYN NETS (VIA BOSTON): BAM ADEBAYO PF KENTUCKY

Adding Bam Adebayo to pair up with Hart could be the start of turning things around. They won’t win many games, but the rebuild has to start somewhere. Adebayo is a solid prospect with lots of potential.

26: UTAH JAZZ: CALEB SWANIGAN PF PURDUE

The Jazz are in as good of a position as the Celtics. They will finish as the fourth or fifth seed in the tough Western Conference and have two first-round draft picks. Swanigan can come right into the NBA and contribute off the bench.

27: PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (VIA CLEVELAND): RODIONS KURUCS SF LATVIA

Kurucs is a project and Portland can afford to draft a developmental player this late in the first round. Kurucs is versatile and can be a valuable scoring option in the NBA.

28: LOS ANGELES LAKERS (VIA HOUSTON): DONOVAN MITCHELL SG LOUISVILLE

2017 NBA Draft

(Photo Credit: By Pat McDonogh, The CJ)

The Lakers have youth on their side and drafting Mitchell will allow them to continue to build assets as trading blocks so that they can get superstars back in Hollywood. Mitchell is a solid shooting guard who can be a solid sixth man in the NBA.

29: UTAH JAZZ (VIA GOLDEN STATE): JOHNATHAN MOTLEY PF BAYLOR

Utah needs some frontcourt athleticism. Derrick Favors has only had one really productive season and looks to be on the decline. Motley’s offensive I.Q. makes him a perfect fit in Utah to be a solid role player on a solid playoff team.

30: SAN ANTONIO SPURS: THOMAS BRYANT C INDIANA

The Spurs are like the Patriots. They know what they are doing and you don’t question them. LaMarcus Aldridge’s future is in jeopardy due to health concerns. With Kawhi Leonard being a two-way star, the Spurs need a big man who can protect the paint.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2017 NFL Mock Draft October 3

The draft order of this mock draft is decided by using current NFL standings and predictions on where teams will finish.

1. Cleveland Browns- DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Kizer has flown up draft boards since the season began due to his great play. He has the size, arm strength and accuracy to make all throws required of an NFL quarterback. His athleticism is also a huge plus and he doesn’t run recklessly, which will make Browns fans happy after the RGIII injury. Hue Jackson likes Cody Kessler, but Kizer fits more of what he had at quarterback before being successful with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.

2. Chicago Bears- Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

Could there be two straight years of quarterbacks going number one and number two in the draft? The Bears need to move on from Jay Cutler. John Fox has said Cutler isn’t guaranteed the starting job back after he returns from injury, which means he is most likely on his way out after the season. Kaaya isn’t as athletic or big as Kizer, but he is great at knowing how much heat, or lack thereof, to get the ball to his receivers and is very accurate at making throws down field.

3. New Orleans Saints- Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

New Orleans has a chance to be the worst defense in the history of football…again. If they draft this high they need to take a guy who can be an elite player for years. Garrett is one of the best pass rushers to come into the league in the past few years. He has great speed and power, but more impressively he is able to set up his opponent to get where he wants to and make a play. He needs to work on his run defense, but the Saints can’t pass up on his pass-rushing abilities.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars- Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The Jags aren’t thrilled with T.J. Yeldon’s production and Chris Ivory certainly isn’t a long term solution. Blake Bortles is accused of being a garbage-time quarterback, because he and his talented receivers are putting up numbers when the game is already lost. One way to help fix this problem is to run the ball early to open things up. Fournette is a physical freak and can do just about anything asked of him. With Fournette, Jacksonville could have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

5. San Francisco 49ers- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Watson hasn’t played great this season, but last year more than makes up for his slow start this year, so far. Watson can run the ball, but hasn’t done so  effectively this year. His passing has been off and he locks on his best receiver Mike Williams a lot. If Chip Kelly is still with the 49ers next year, Watson would be a good fit for his system and would give the 49ers more help on offense.

6. Miami Dolphins- Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

If Ryan Tannehill doesn’t start playing well, the Dolphins could go after a quarterback. For now they can get a talented running back, which fills a need. Cook is elusive as a runner and is a great receiver out of the backfield. He is not great as a pass protector, but could improve in time.

7. San Diego Chargers- Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

The left side of the Chargers’ offensive line hasn’t played well. Phillip Rivers can play for several more years if he has the proper protection. Robinson is the best offensive tackle in the class by far, making this an easy pick for the Chargers.

8. Tennessee Titans- Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

Jackson is one of the best athletes in this draft class and can do a little bit of everything. The Titans will need him at corner, but he will also help in the return game and could also help out on offense as a receiver. The defense has been awful for the Titans and Jackson can start immediately in their secondary.

9. Detroit Lions- Malik McDowell, DT, MSU

The Lions don’t have great players on the interior of their defensive line. McDowell has great size and athleticism and uses his talents to get through blockers to make plays in the running game. He won’t put up huge numbers as a pass rusher, but he does take on double teams to free up other players on defense to get to the quarterback.

10. Buffalo Bills- Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

Rex Ryan is a defensive guru, but his players can’t get to the quarterback. The Bills offense may never be too dynamic, so they need to get to the opponent’s quarterback to help keep their team in the game. Allen had 12 sacks last year and already has three this season.

11. Washington Redskins- Jabril Peppers, LB/S, Michigan

Josh Norman is the only player on the Redskins’ defense who has played great this season. If they want to continue being competitive they need to upgrade a lot of positions, because their offense won’t win them too many games. Peppers may be the best all-around defender in this class. He has the versatility to play linebacker or safety in the NFL. He is a sure tackler who is always in great position. One knock on him is that he doesn’t have an interception in his college career, so he needs to show the ability capitalize when quarterbacks throw his way. His ability to return kicks will be highly coveted.

12. Indianapolis Colts- Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri

Indianapolis has two options in the draft: 1. help protect Andrew Luck or 2. improve the defense. There aren’t many great offensive lineman in this draft, so the selection should be easy. Harris is a great pass rusher, with three sacks on the season for the Tigers. He can also help stop the run behind the line of scrimmage, he totaled 18.5 tackles for loss last season.

13. New York Jets- Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Darrelle Revis hasn’t played well all season. The Jets’ other corners haven’t been the greatest either. Jets’ fans may not like taking another corner from Alabama (they just cut Dee Milliner, a former Alabama player), but Humphrey is certainly talented enough to be selected in the first half of the first round. Humphrey is young, but has already made a lot of great plays for the Crimson Tide. He should continue to grow and get better as this season goes on.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Barnett is a great pass rusher, who is overshadowed by Myles Garrett. His 21 career sacks are amazing for playing on an SEC team, but he needs to stop the run better to be an elite prospect. The Bucs need better defensive line play to help Jameis Winston take this team where they want to go.

15. Carolina Panthers- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Another team that could use offensive linemen, but there isn’t one worthy of being picked. The Panthers can upgrade over Kurt Coleman, who has been a below average player so far this season. Hooker has been a ball hawk this season and has great size and speed.

16. Arizona Cardinals- Caleb Brantley, DE, Florida

The Cardinals have had a need on defensive line for a long time, but it has been better recently. Calais Campbell can’t play forever though. Brantley is one of the best players on a great collegiate defense at Florida.

17. Cincinnati Bengals- Micke McGlinchy, OT, Notre Dame

Before week four of the NFL season the Bengals had given up the most sacks in the NFL. Right tackle and center need to be upgraded so Cincinnati can fill one of those void here. McGlinchey plays left tackle at Notre Dame now, but has extensive experience at right tackle in previous seasons.

18. Tennessee Titans- Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Williams is a tall lanky receiver who is capable of making plays. He isn’t the fastest guy, but uses his size to make grabs over defenders. The Titans’ best receiver is Tajee Sharpe, who has potential, but another good receiver is needed for Mariota’s development.

19. Houston Texans- Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida

Jonathan Joseph has played horrible this year. The Texans look to have a decent offense now, but upgrading the secondary can make their defense elite.

20. Oakland Raiders- Tim Williams, LB, Alabama

Oakland has a terrible defense and needs upgrades everywhere. Even Khalil Mack hasn’t played well this season. Williams has impressed as a pass rusher who has athletic ability this season.

21. Atlanta Falcons- Desmond King, CB, Iowa

The Falcons also has an awful defense and need help just about everywhere. King is a ball-hawk who can turn an interception into a touchdown quickly. He is also a sure tackler who can help in the running game.

22. Dallas Cowboys- Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

White is not only an athletic corner who makes plays, but is also a team leader. He has worn the number 18 at LSU for two years now, which symbolizes that leadership. The Cowboys still need pass rushers, but taking a corner here would fill a need as well.

23. New York Giants- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

McCaffrey may be the most complete back in this class. He can return kicks, catch passes and run the ball inside the tackles. He would bring a whole new dimension to the Giants offense and make it better.

24. Kansas City Chiefs- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Kansas City really only has Jeremy Maclin as a viable receiver. Smith-Schuster has disappointed scouts this season, but still has the necessary size and speed to be molded into a good NFL pass-catcher.

25. Green Bay Packers- Jamal Adams, S, LSU

The Packers have a talented roster as always, so they can take the best player available. Adams is the most accomplished safety in the class as he has started at LSU for multiple years now.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers- O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Jesse James hasn’t played great yet and Ladarius Green isn’t reliable. Howard can make the Steelers’ offense even more dynamic. He is very talented, but is underutilized at Alabama.

27. Seattle Seahawks- Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State

Russell Wilson needs to be protected and he hasn’t been for the last two years. Johnson has fallen in most mock drafts, but should produce good value at the end of the first round, while also filling the Seahawks’ biggest need.

28. Cleveland Browns- Dawaune Smoot, DE, Illinois

Smoot is an underrated player because he goes to Illinois, but he can get after the quarterback. The Browns need help across the board to help their young team. They picked Kizer with the first pick and can now address the pass rush.

29. Baltimore Ravens- Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennesse

Sutton has been hampered by injury this season, but is still a great shut down corner. The Ravens upgraded their safety position by adding Eric Weddle, but can now get some corners to go with him.

30. Philadelphia Eagles- Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Carson Wentz has looked great despite not having a great running game. If Chubb can overcome his injuries, he can be a workhorse back in the NFL.

31. Denver Broncos- Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State

The Broncos lost a few linebackers from their Super Bowl winning team last year and can now get some young guys to help out at that spot. McMillan will fit nicely next to Brandon Marshall, if he is still with Denver next season.

32. New England Patriots- Devonte Fields, DE/OLB, Louisville

Fields won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year when playing at TCU. There are some concerns about his character, as he was kicked out of TCU, but his on-field play has been great. The Patriots have taken players with questionable backgrounds before and made them into stars.

 

 

For more NFL Mocks: http://dcprosportsreport.com/MockDraft.htm

Talk to me in the forums or tweet at me (@ditulliojoe) about who your team is taking. Also make sure to follow The Game Haus on Twitter and Facebook.

The Bengals Draft Guide

Laquon Treadwell is a top level talent, however he's free falling in some mocks. (Photo By: Michael Chang, Getty Images)

Laquon Treadwell is a top level talent, however, he’s free falling in some mocks. (Photo By: Michael Chang, Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to be one of the teams in competition for the AFC North title in 2016. A year after watching the Bengals implode against arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the team looks to follow-up and make greater strides this season.

We’ll know more about the future of the team after the first round of the draft is completed. Will they go “all-in” for 2016, meaning, do they select what would amount to an impact receiver? Or do they pick a long-term project player as they’ve been known to try?

With the losses of Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons) and Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions) in the offseason, the Bengals are a few receivers short of the depth they’ve grown accustomed to. With that being one of the glaring holes the team is at a small crossroads. Do they select a receiver early and expect him to put up incredible numbers in his rookie season? Or, do they favor a later round receiver (like Jones and Sanu) and expect him to slot in as the third or fourth option behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert?

These questions will be the first of many that the Bengals “War Room” has to debate heading into the draft. They’ll also have to battle the question of picking a receiver with the idea of drafting a project player. 

Last season we saw the Bengals select Cedric Ogbuehi, an offensive linemen that would’ve probably been a top five pick before a season-ending injury pushed him to the bottom of the first round. Ogbuehi has since regained strength and learned under the likes of Andrew Whitworth and company, and developed into a bright star moving forward. He’ll be a starter next season and should be a mainstay for the rest of his career. That project worked out well.

They’ve also selected guys like Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Kevin Zeitler and allowed them to work their ways into the starting lineup, not pressuring them to be stars from day one. This method has worked well and has allowed the team to be called “the deepest team in the NFL” or “the most talented team 1-53, in the NFL” from NFL luminaries all over network TV.

With these things in mind, there seem to be a few options for Cincinnati in the first round.

  1. Draft a receiver that fits the bill as a top tier target on Andy Dalton’s offense.
  2. Draft a longer term project that has fell down the board due to injury.
  3. Draft a depth player that will eventually fill a pivotal role. However, this pick won’t make an immediate boom.

These are the essential choices the Bengals have laying at their feet ahead of the draft that is now, right at our doorstep.

If Marvin Lewis dives down the first rabbit hole, he’ll likely please the fan base that believes next season should end with a Super Bowl championship. The fan base is in outcry mode after losing beloved options Jones and Sanu. They want an immediate replacement that will play a fundamental role in the offense.

What options are out there?

  1. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
    Will Fuller may be considered the top receiver on the board with the fall of Treadwell. (Photo By: Walter Football)

    Will Fuller may be considered the top receiver on the board with the fall of Treadwell. (Photo By: Walter Football)

  2. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
  3. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
  4. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  5. Michael Thomas, WR, OSU

These are really the five guys we’re going to talk about. Ideally, Laquon Treadwell falls to Cincinnati. You may wonder why that’s an ideal thing? If he’s falling, something has to be wrong, right? People don’t like the leg injury he suffered two years ago. It was a nasty play and leaves question marks everywhere. But for the most part, this point is overplayed. He isn’t the greatness route runner and likely won’t burn many corners with his 4.63 40-yard dash. That’s a lot slower than Green’s 4.5 he ran in 2011. These things do appear to dampen the expectations for Treadwell. But that’s why he isn’t going to be a top 10 pick. He’s falling into the 20’s; there’s a big difference between a can’t miss receiver and a mid-20’s pick. He’s not Green or Julio Jones; he’s Anquan Boldin. A receiver that wins jump balls and outmuscles most corners. He’s a possession guy that’s going to be a great second option opposite of Green.

Should Treadwell fall, he should be the pick.

Fuller and Coleman would both be great number two picks. I’m just a tick lower on them than Treadwell, so both would be home runs for different reasons. Fuller is a blazing fast (4.32) outside threat that looks like a burner that could take the top off of a defense. He could become Green’s best friend in week one. Coleman, much like Fuller, is a blazer. A 4.37 40-yard dash time at his pro day make him a viable option for Cincinnati. He’s a little less polished, and I worry about production inflation in the Big 12. Taken aside, he’s a great route-runner and can burn just as well as Fuller. I would grade Fuller slightly ahead of Coleman, and I assume the Bengals would do the same.

Doctson is the only other receiver I would consider. He ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and is a bit taller than both of the aforementioned receivers (6’2”). He is the least polished of the big four and wouldn’t turn as many heads. But he fits the bill as a number two beside Green. Thomas is off my board as a first round pick. Should the Bengals trade down (as if that would ever happen), he becomes a much better option in the second round.

Taking option two for the Bengals wouldn’t be as popular as the first choice, at least immediately. Ogbuehi wasn’t a popular pick on the first day, but fans are starting to see why the pick happened and seem to love it.

The main topic of discussion, Notre Dame linebacker, Jaylon Smith, suffered a devastating knee injury to end last season. How has this changed things? Well, he was a consensus top five pick last season, now? He’s in danger of falling into the latter part of the first round. A significant change that opens up a window of opportunity for the Bengals.

Jaylon Smith fell down draft boards after a Fiesta Bowl knee injury derailed his final college football game. (Photo By: Sporting News)

Jaylon Smith fell down draft boards after a Fiesta Bowl knee injury derailed his final college football game. (Photo By: Sporting News)

New information came out today that some doctors are saying his knee is a ticking time bomb with all of the nerve damage. This is a major concern. It could be career jeopardizing. Or, he could come back and be fine. That’s where the gamble comes in. You truly have no idea what you’re going to get from him. He could be the best player from this draft or he could be out of the NFL after two seasons.

The Bengals love their pass rush and you can never have enough solid linebackers. Would they consider this pick? Yes. For sure. Would they pull the trigger? Probably. Will they? Who knows?

The last option would be for the Bengals to select some interior line help on either side of the ball, or maybe some secondary help. The Bengals and Lewis himself, love having depth. They do have holes that could be addressed, but they also have possible fillers on their roster. They can also fill these holes later in the draft.

Some of the names to watch for. . .

  1. Noah Spence, DE, EKU
  2. Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

These two have floated around on the Bengals radar. Sure, there are several other options (most of which we haven’t even connected to the Bengals) but these two are the main options to think about.

Spence and Billings will both fill gaps on the Bengals D-Line. Spence could become a great pass rusher and Billings would fill in the gap that Domata Peko is starting to leave. He’s got age and will need a full-time replacement.

If I had to lay down a solid prediction, it would be at the wide receiver position. There have been grumblings that the Bengals aren’t sold on Lewis as a Super Bowl winning coach while also giving him a one-year extension, go figure. With that in mind, this year should be an all-in type of season for the Bengals. For Marvin Lewis to keep his job, 2016 must be a good season. That means they’ll likely try and find the most impactful player in the draft. That will probably come from a receiver.

Which one? That’s where the real debate comes in.