I was not pleased with what the Bengals had done in the draft on Friday night. There wasn’t a single pick I was happy about at the time. For almost every pick I could name a guy at the same position that was still available that I thought was a better prospect (which will be my next article).
However in the shower, where all great ideas come from, I believe I discovered the unseen factor that pushed the guys they selected up their board.
Remember all the talk about the Bengals being in win now mode?
If you look at this draft through that lens it comes into focus for me. It seems like the Bengals were determined to go center in round 1, the easiest way to upgrade their team. I fully believe the pick was Ragnow but when he went 20 the Bengals had a choice to make, Billy Price or James Daniels. James Daniels is 3 years younger (1/3 of an NFL career and will still develop physically), much more athletic on tape and test results to back it up.
By most measures a better prospect, but Billy Price is the better player right now. That is unless the Bengals try to run a zone heavy run scheme this year, then I just don’t know what they were doing.
The Jesse Bates III pick was surprising, especially with the highly touted Justin Reid still on the board. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at scouting safeties but all you had to do was put on a highlight clip of Reid.
Highlight clips can be useful if you know what you’re looking for. Don’t just look at what the result of the play was but *how* the prospect made that play.
There’s a big difference between a ball bouncing off of a DE’s hands into the waiting arms of a safety vs that safety tracking the deep ball and going up over that 6’3” receiver to steal the ball from him. When you roll the clips on Justin Reid my eyebrows go up and I involuntarily say “holy sh*t”.
Jesse Bates the 3rd (don’t you feel like we need 1 more guy that’s a 3rd of his name in the backfield just for symmetry?) is one of the true free safeties in the draft and I believe that’s why he went over Reid. Hell they’re rare even in the NFL.
He can come into that DB room right now and give them something they don’t have. Illoka has FS traits to be sure and can play the deep half really well but I don’t know if you want him in single high. I believe Bates 3 will be the deepest man in a lot of 3 safety looks and while he will likely not start barring injury, he will contribute.
Sam Hubbard is of a similar ilk. While there were some better DE prospects available in my opinion, Hubbard is ready to come in and play a role right now.
He’s already very effective against the run which was a weakness last year. He’s not going to have Carl Lawson like snaps where he just embarrasses the tackle and smashes the QB.
He’s a hustle player that’s going to get cleanup sacks and has the flexibility to play inside and out. He’s basically an upgraded Michael Johnson at this point. But that was the exact need the Bengals have on their D-line right now.
They have their edge guys, they have their lane cloggers. For the next 2 years Hubbard is the perfect fit.
This falls apart a little bit with Malik Jefferson. Hopefully he’s a quick study because he was NOT asked to do much in the pass game at Texas.
He would just delayed blitz pretty much every pass play. Who knows though, maybe he’s a coverage savant and that’s just what the scheme called for.
Day 3 was a more standard draft. They took some big swings and laid down some bunts, nothing really stood out to me there. Though I do love some of the picks.
I fully believe the Bengals are all in on the next 2 years and it really manifested itself last weekend. You have two hall of fame caliber players nearing the end of their prime and they’re just going to give it one last shot.
When I frame the draft that way I feel much better about it.
What do you guys think? Does that make sense? Tell me I’m an idiot or a genius or that my band is awesome in the comments or hit me up on twitter at @joelknowsbungs. I’d love to hear from you!
Not Another Bengals, Chiefs Preview
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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WATCH: Houshmandzadeh says the Bengals are going to beat the Chiefs
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.
‘Vontaze can be as great as he wants to be’
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.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 14, 2018
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.
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