The Bengals draft class of 2016 has been a surprise for some and just another weekend at the office for others. The moves made by Cincinnati were the types that can frustrate bandwagon fans. But, Bengals faithful and analysts have been raving about the picks made by the war room. They made sound decisions. Now, it’s time to get down to business.
Head coach Marvin Lewis and Bengals brass rounded out the class with more sound additions that spoke of how far the franchise has come. There weren’t any knee-jerk reactions, to please the public and skeptics. Every move was considered for the longevity of a team that has turned the corner.
Cody Core of Ole Miss has a skill set similar to a player the Bengals let walk.
“We drafted a guy a few years ago very similar to that in Marvin Jones, who got an opportunity here and was able to take true advantage of it,” Lewis explained thoughtfully, via the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He saw his athletic skills continue to blossom, and we’re hopeful Cody’s skills continue to do the same thing.”
The Bengals closed out the festivities with Clayton Fejedelem. He was pick No. 245 for the war room. Fejedelem will probably see most of his playing time on special teams. But, he was still thoroughly researched. He’ll be primed to fill in on defense, when the occasion arises. Lewis spoke about him, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. He feels the youngster can make an impact in the league.
“A guy coming into the league like that, just like (safety) Derron (Smith) last year, his profession and earning his opportunity and earning his stay here is not only on defense but on special teams. He’s just a productive football player and those kind of guys play big in the National Football League.”
Fejedelem was a tackling machine during his days at Illinois. He ended his 2015 campaign with 140 tackles. Last year, he had seven games with 10 or more tackles. That ability should be enough to secure a spot as a special-teams warrior.
Analysts are raving about the Bengals’ draft selections. With a majority of the draftniks on board also, Bengals brass again received boatloads of praise. The approach was all business. The picks addressed the immediate and future needs of the team.
With the 2016 draft, the Bengals made a conscious effort to add speed and strength to the roster. Some of the young men may see playing time this season. The true litmus test will be their performance in a few years. The grind and demands of the NFL will surely bring their natural ability to the forefront.
The Bengals have built a team that has performed extremely well since 2011. That foundation has been built through the draft and sound research principles. When the wide receiver bonanza started in the first round, they fought the temptation to trade up. They kept their position, throughout the proceedings, and may have gotten the steal of the draft. Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings may turn out to be a key player.
“You can’t give in to that. We have to take the best players,” Lewis said of the trade temptation. “I think today we did a particularly good job of that. We filled some needs. We filled some needs with really good guys — good players that we had good grades on collectively.”
Another draft comes to an end. The Bengals stuck to their methods and filled gaps left by departing free agents. Being able to pick one time per round was the fewest in nine years. They didn’t have the ability to maneuver through the rounds, like division rivals Cleveland and Baltimore. The ability to have multiple picks would have been nice. But, it was a luxury Lewis wasn’t concerned about. They made the sound picks that keep them winning.
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