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Cincinnati Bengals

10 prospects to watch for on Friday

James Rapien

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The Bengals selected center Billy Price with the 21st overall pick. Now that they’ve filled their biggest need, who could they take with their three picks on day two of the draft? They have picks 46, 77 and 100.

Here are ten players who could be on their radar today:
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan – The Bengals are looking for someone to compliment Geno Atkins and Hurst would be the perfect fit. He’s a first round talent that could fall all the way to pick 46 because of heart irregularities doctors diagnosed him with at the combine. He would likely be the top player on their board in round two IF the Bengals feel he’s good to go from a health perspective. Odds are he will get picked prior, but medical evaluations are hard to predict.

Justin Reid, S, Stanford – This is one of multiple safeties that will be on the Bengals’ radar today. Reid is the athletic playmaker they have been looking for this offseason. He had five interceptions and six pass breakups in 2017. He has a chance to be better than his brother Eric, who visited the Bengals a few weeks ago. If Reid is there at 46, I could see the Bengals running to the podium. I thought the Steelers were going to take him with the 28th pick last night.

Jesse Bates, S, Wake Forest – Bates is extremely versatile and has great ball skills. He had six interceptions and 15 passes defensed in 2015. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bengals consider him at 46. Maybe they roll the dice and hope he falls to 77. They also have the ammo to trade up at some point today if there’s a player they love. The good news is they may get their pick of Bates or Reid in round two, depending on how the board falls to them.

Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama – Harrison is the dark horse at the safety position. The Bengals met with him and have a history of liking players from the SEC. The analysts I’ve talked to don’t like him as much as Reid or Bates. I don’t think he will be in play at 46, but I could see them taking him in round three if they haven’t addressed safety.

James Daniels, C, Iowa – Could he fall to them in round two? It’s not likely, but there’s a chance. Daniels is the most athletic center in this draft and could potentially be the top player on the Bengals’ board at 46. I think they want to address defense in round two, but they could be tempted to take Daniels if he’s available. Price has the versatility to play guard down the line and Daniels has the most upside of any center in this draft.

Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State – Rankin is a big bodied offensive lineman who could give the Bengals a boost. He played tackle in college and could possibly be brought it to compete at the right tackle spot. They could also try kicking him inside to guard. I’m assuming they want Price to play center, but there has been plenty of speculation about Rankin playing center in the NFL.

Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma – Brown is a scary prospect. There’s a lot to like when you watch him, but he had an historically bad combine. If he falls to pick 77, I think the Bengals would be tempted to draft him. Is he strong enough to succeed in the NFL? Is he athletic enough? He didn’t show it at the combine or his pro day. The Bengals have taken prospects like that before – Paul Dawson comes to mind.

Arden Key, edge rusher, LSU – Key is a great prospect with character concerns. The Bengals watched him at LSU’s pro day and visited with him a day later. He would give them another edge rusher, which was their biggest draft need a year ago. Assuming he’s available, Key will probably in the conversation in the third round – pick 77 or pick 100.

Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State – Could the Bengals take back-to-back players from Ohio State? Hubbard will be in the mix at pick 46. He isn’t a great athlete, but he’s solid and could contribute right away. The Bengals could use another edge rusher and drafting a player like Hubbard would continue their “win-now” offseason.

Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas – The Bengals need to get more athletic at linebacker and Jefferson is exactly that. He ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and is a mid-round player worth keeping an eye on. Linebackers coach Jim Haslett took a long look at Jefferson at Texas’ pro day. He should be in the conversation in round three.

Wild Card:
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State – The Bengals used a top 30 visit on Rudolph and clearly have interest in him. I don’t think he falls to 46, but if he does, it’ll be interesting to see if they take him. They need a quality backup quarterback for 2018 and I’d bet the Bengals would prefer Rudolph over Matt Barkley. I don’t think it’s likely, but there’s a chance.

James covers the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds for ESPN 1530 and 700 WLW in Cincinnati. He hosts shows on both stations, including Cincy 3:60 from 12pm-1pm daily on ESPN 1530. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. Feel free to email him your ideas, fantasy football questions and hot takes.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. John P

    April 28, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Amazing effort hitting all 3 prospects we drafted on Day 2. Very well done.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Not Another Bengals, Chiefs Preview

Jeffery Carr

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© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Week seven of the NFL regular season is upon us and the Cincinnati Bengals have a golden opportunity this Sunday on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs. Guessing that’s not where your mind went when you thought of this game?

The Basics

The Bengals and Chiefs have squared off 28 times, over the years, with the Bengals holding a slight 15-13 advantage. Cincinnati holds a four-game winning streak over Kansas City with the last loss coming at Arrowhead in 2007. Marvin Lewis is 6-2 against the Chiefs and 2-2 at Arrowhead. The Lewis-led Bengals have outscored the Chiefs 167 to 136, in their eight meetings.

The last game between these two teams was in week four of the 2015 season. The Bengals won in Paul Brown Stadium 36-21 with four of the touchdowns coming from running plays. Three TDs were scored by Jeremy Hill and the other came from Giovanni Bernard. The lone TD pass was a 55-yarder to Brandon Tate from Andy Dalton.

The Offense

This is a marvelous chance for Andy and the offense to get back on track. They managed just nine total yards in the third quarter against the Steelers, but will be facing a very pedestrian defensive squad, this coming Sunday night. In two games career games against the Chiefs, Dalton has completed 66% of his passes for 551 yards and three scores. He will face a Chiefs defense that ranks stone cold last in pass defense, allowing 340 yards per game, through the air.

Joe Mixon will be happy, though, as the Chiefs also allow an average of 127 rushing yards, per game. In fact, the Bengals offense, as a whole, should feast on Sunday. They’re averaging 29 points per game and the Chiefs allow 28.7 per game.

The Defense

They’re banged up, and they’re outgunned in this matchup. Statistically, Cincinnati’s defense has fared only slightly better than Kansas City’s. The Bengals are allowing just over 400 total yards, a game, and 26 points per game. Couple that with the high-flying offense of Patrick Mahomes, who averages 418 total yards and 35 points per game, and I’d say you should bet the over, whatever Vegas has it set as.

Nick Vigil and Darqueze Dennard have been ruled out and Shawn Williams is listed as questionable. Given that eight different defensive starters came off the field last Sunday, at different points in the game, and this coming game may be crazy, simply from a health standpoint.

The Skinny

This matchup has a real chance at being a playoff preview as well as a carbon copy of the Falcons game, a few weeks back. The Chiefs will be in a battle with the Chargers, all season, for the AFC West and the Bengals, though on top for the moment, have no room for comfort with the Ravens and Steelers knocking on the door. Whoever has the ball last in this pivotal game could very well end up the winner.

I’d expect to see a lot of William Jackson and Tyreek Hill matchups. Some have said Hill is the best receiver, in the game, this year so Jackson will need to be on his toes for all 60 minutes. Meanwhile, Kansas City receiving threat 1-B, Travis Kelce, will probably be Teryl Austin’s biggest headache. The Bengals, no matter the personnel or the coaching staff, have always struggled to cover the opposing tight end. Enter, arguably, the best tight end in the NFL with his 468 receiving yards and three TDs. I’m no expert fantasy football predictor, but I’d bet he is a top scorer, this week. And I haven’t even mentioned the Chiefs’ stud running back, Kareem Hunt. Dude is a threat to run all over the place (456 yds, 4th in NFL) and be a pain to the Bengals pass defense (17 yards per catch). Pray for Austin and the Bengals defense.

Bringing it Home

That being said, this is a winnable game for the Bengals. They have the firepower to hang with Kansas City. If you jumped off the wagon after the loss to the Steelers and think the Bengals are going to get absolutely crushed by the Chiefs, you won’t agree with me, so whatevs, but this game isn’t that big of a mismatch. John Ross will be on the field for Cincinnati, giving them their bonafide deep threat to contend with the Chiefs’ big play abilities. AJ Green has nobody to worry about on the Chiefs defense, and will be able to roam free, looking for holes in the coverage. Which just means Tyler Boyd will be able to give as much of his safety blanket-ness to Andy as he can. Should the line have a rough day protecting the pocket, Dalton will have plenty of chances to scramble and make something happen while extending the play. One of these two teams will begin the game hot only to try to slow it down with the rushing game, but I believe both defenses will be porous enough to allow some highlight reel plays deep. This is going to be an entertaining game to watch, if your pacemaker doesn’t give out in the first half. Call me crazy, call me a homer (whatevs, I’m no professional), but I say the Bengals win.

Prediction: Bengals 42, Chiefs 38

Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals for more Orange and Black content on Twitter

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Cincinnati Bengals

WATCH: Houshmandzadeh says the Bengals are going to beat the Chiefs

James Rapien

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Former Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh says the Bengals are going to beat the Chiefs on Sunday night football. He also thinks Andy Dalton’s struggles in primetime games are just a ‘coincidence.’ He was a guest on ‘The Herd’ on Fox Sports One. Watch the video below.

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Cincinnati Bengals

‘Vontaze can be as great as he wants to be’

James Rapien

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Vontaze Burfict has been talked about a lot this week. Not for his dominant play, but for a questionable hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

This isn’t new for Burfict. His play has been discussed for years. He’s been fined or suspended 11 times in his career, which has cost him over $1 million in salary.

Some people believe Burfict should be suspended for the rest of the season. Others think he should be out of the NFL forever. There’s no denying that he’s earned his reputation.

Burfict doesn’t like how he’s viewed in the media. If he wants to change it, he can start by playing like an elite linebacker against Kansas City. He doesn’t look like the player he once was. It’s probably because he’s missed so much time over the past few years. Burfict has appeared in 11 games or fewer in his last four seasons due to suspensions and injuries. He hasn’t forced a turnover since 2016, which is the last time he was playing at an elite level.

That leads me to a question that has been asked a lot this week: Is Burfict worth the headache? His teammates certainly think so.

“Vontaze can be as great as he wants to be,” Carlos Dunlap said earlier this week. “And as you’ve seen up to this level he’s played as one of the best linebackers in the league. And I feel like he has the potential to be even better.”

Sunday is an opportunity for Burfict to put on a show. It’s a chance for him to remind people that he is one of the best linebackers in the league. If he goes out there, dominates and does it without any questionable hits, then the entire country will see why the Bengals signed him to two contract extensions. Leading a struggling defense into Kansas City and getting a win would be huge for how people view him. Fans and media could discuss his stellar play, instead of a late-hit or a PED suspension.

He needs to remind people, including fans, that he can be a great player. Burfict just turned 28-years-old. He signed a contract extension with the Bengals last season. There has been plenty of chatter about Burfict this week, but that isn’t bothering rookie safety Jessie Bates.

“He’s so smart and he makes things easier for me communication wise,” Bates said on Wednesday. “Obviously he’s been doing this for a long time. He plays very violent and some people don’t like that. I’m glad that he’s on our team.”

It’s hard to envision Burfict changing at this point, but he can use Sunday to his advantage. He can show a national television audience that he’s able to play the game at a high level and do so without getting fined, flagged or suspended for questionable play.

Once upon a time Burfict was an undrafted free agent who impressed coaches with his knowledge of the game. Fast forward to present day and he’s a ‘dirty player’ who should be suspended or worse. Burfict has a chance to remind everyone of how good he can be. Whether or not he takes advantage of it is up to him.

For more, listen to the latest Locked on Bengals podcast below.

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