NFL Draft Fantasy Preview: Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals could help Joe Mixon by addressing the offensive line early
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It’s becoming evident that the Cincinnati Bengals are in need of a rebuild. They are annually disappointing when it comes to performances on the field, and that can be largely contributed to the coaching from Marvin Lewis. With the shocking news that Lewis will be back on the sidelines for 2018, expect similar numbers from all the key members of this team. The Bengals are in dire need of new leadership, and I would not be shocked if this team quits halfway through the season.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green remain the only pieces out of this passing attack that are worth consideration in redraft leagues. Green is expected to once again provide WR1 numbers by year’s end, even after coming off a somewhat down year for him in 2017. Dalton is a perennial backup QB in Fantasy. He can flash at times with solid performances, but if you are riding with him as your starting QB then something went wrong.
I expect to see a lot more of Joe Mixon in his second season in the NFL. Things started slow for him last year, as it seemed the coaching staff was reluctant to really feature him. As the season wore along and his touches started to rise, you could see that there is some potential there. Look for the Bengals to get him involved early and often in 2018. Mixon could be a player drafted as an RB2 but may return RB1 value by season’s end.
As for the draft, the Bengals must address the offensive line. All of the departures before the 2017 season really hurt the continuity of this offense. If they can find some pieces to develop, the offense could get back to being respectable. Also, look for them to add depth to the defense. They have holes at each level and adding players to come in and contribute could be key.
Team Needs: OL, LB, CB
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: James Daniels, C Iowa
Second Round: Isaiah Oliver, CB Colorado
Third Round: Kyle Lauletta, QB Richmond
The selection of James Daniels gives the Bengals a piece for their offensive line that should come in and contribute right away. He thrives in a zone blocking scheme, something that could benefit a player like Joe Mixon. He is a plus pass protector and run blocker, but the fluidity in his movements is something that catches the eye for a player of this size. He takes very good angles in his blocks and can outpace defenders as a play moves laterally. Daniels can make this offensive line better, which will have a trickledown effect to the rest of the offense. A selection like this could certainly improve the value of Mixon heading into drafts.
Looking to add depth to the secondary, the Bengals pick of Isaiah Oliver provides a smart and talented player that should fit in well early. He has the size, speed and length that most general managers like to see from corners, but he does have holes in his coverage ability from time to time. Oliver figures to be a situational, nickel-type corner in his rookie season but will some fine-tuning he can certainly develop into a quality starting option in this secondary.
With the departure of A.J. McCarron to the Bills, the Bengals will be looking to bring in a QB to groom behind Dalton, and Kyle Lauletta figures to be that guy. Lauletta excels with his accuracy and mechanics, but also lacks the arm strength that you like to see out of an eventual starter in the NFL. He has plus decision-making but at times will turn the ball over because of arm limitations. This feels like a pick that this Bengals team would make, reaching for a player they could get a round later. For Fantasy purposes, Lauletta provides no intrigue in either a re-draft format or Dynasty leagues.
James Daniels Featured Image: (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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