Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun

Top Day 2 and Day 3 Draft Targets for the Cincinnati Bengals 

  • 2020 NFL Draft
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Denzel Mims
  • Joe Burrow
  • Netane Muti
  • NFl Draft
  • Troy Pride
  • Zack Baun
By Kyle Smith March 7, 2020 1 Comment
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The Cincinnati Bengals hold the top pick in each round of the 2020 NFL Draft, who are the top middle round prospects to target?

The Cincinnati Bengals are in a unique spot that is nothing but advantageous: the ability to start Day 2 and Day 3 of the NFL Draft with a completely updated board, and the opportunity to select their top-rated prospect. Of course, depending on how the board falls, there is always the chance that they can trade back.

It has become a Bengals’ tradition to trade back in the 2nd round. Last year they traded back from 41 to 52 and likely missed out on drafting Dalton Risner, guard from Kansas State, and instead drafted Drew Sample who ended the year on IR. In 2018, the Bengals traded back with the Kansas City Chiefs and were able to select starting safety Jessie Bates III, but whiffed on the third-round pick they acquired from the Chiefs by selecting Malik Jefferson out of Texas.

With the Bengals getting harped on by the national media, they have a chance to set the record straight by sticking this draft. After drafting Joe Burrow in the first round, who can they target in Rounds 2 through 4 to truly help this team get to the next level? If these targets below are still on the board at any pick for the Bengals, they should absolutely not trade back

SECOND ROUND

Zack Baun – LB/Edge Wisconsin

Many mock drafts and experts around the league had Zack Baun as a first-round pick before the NFL combine. While Zack had an extremely productive combine, running a 4.65 40 and a 32.5” vertical jump, the run on offensive linemen and wide receivers could bump him into the second round. As the Bengals continue to develop a new defensive system under defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, Baun could fill multiple roles. If the Bengals display a 3-4 look, he can be the OLB/Edge and either rush the QB or play the middle with Germaine Pratt to drop in pass coverage. If Baun stays at ILB, Sam Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap can play the edge. In a 4-3 look Baun has the speed and agility to play an ILB or OLB role while staying in coverage.

Denzel Mims – WR Baylor

Denzel Mims could very easily be gone by the time the Bengals draft at 33. However, if he’s there the Bengals seriously have to consider it. At Baylor, Mims was known for contested catches but some had worries about his route running and an ability to get separation. At the Senior Bowl and combine, Mims displayed precise routes and pure speed. At 6’3” 207lbs, Mims ran a 4.38 40, solidifying his potential as an outside and number one wideout. AJ Green is nearing the end of his career, and likely playing on a franchise tag this season. The Bengals need to be looking towards the future. A wide receiver room of AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Denzel Mims, and Auden Tate could be dangerous when you add a rookie Burrow to the equation.

THIRD ROUND

Akeem Davis Gaither – LB Appalachian State

Don’t let the small school fool you. This guy was a one-man wrecking crew at App State. Much like Clemson used Isaiah Simmons, App State used Davis-Gaither in spots all over the field. Now, of course, he isn’t the “made in a laboratory” player like Simmons, but he can be a valuable player across all levels of defense. Unfortunately, Davis-Gaither could not test at the combine due to a partial stress fracture in his right foot. You don’t need his exact measurables to see how athletic and versatile he is, the film speaks for itself. Whether it’s his ability to cover, shed blocks and defend the run, or blitz off the edge, Davis-Gaither can make it happen. The Bengals desperately need help in the linebacker room as the only current returning players are Germaine Pratt, Hardy Nickerson, Jordan Evans, and Brady Sheldon. Davis-Gaither would be a great grab at the top of round 3 or later depending on the return from a potential Andy Dalton trade.

Troy Pride Jr. – Cornerback Notre Dame

Pride Jr. could end up being the steal of the draft. As a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame (Track and Football), he dominated in all aspects. At the Senior Bowl, Pride Jr excelled in the 1-on-1 drills. He had excellent press technique and his ability to flip his hips and cover is top-notch. Leading up to the combine, Pride stated that he wanted to run in the 4.2s but ended up running a 4.40 40. While he didn’t quite live up to the hype of his speed, he was still the fourth fastest CB in Indy. He performed well in the on-field drills and positioned himself as a solid boundary corner heading into the final stretch of draft preparation. With Dre Kirkpatrick as a potential cap causality and Darqueze Dennard likely testing the free agent market, Pride Jr could have an immediate impact on a thin part of the roster.

FOURTH ROUND

Netane Muti – Guard Fresno State

The Bengals used to be known for having one of the toughest, strongest offensive lines in the AFC with players like Andrew Whitworth, Bobby Williams, Kevin Zeitler, and Willie Anderson. Nowadays, the offensive line is seen as the Achilles heel of their offense. With first-round pick Jonah Williams expected to come back from a torn labrum, the offensive line should get a boost. The Bengals are in desperate need of interior linemen on either side of Trey Hopkins. Insert Netane Muti. This is a mammoth of a man at 6’3” 315 lbs. He benched 225 lbs 44 times at the combine, tied for 4th all-time at the combine. Unfortunately, he was not able to participate in field drills or testing due to a Linsfranc injury. He can come in and play left or right guard depending on Michael Jordan’s or Billy Price’s improvement. He would be an immediate boost on the interior to open lanes for Joe Mixon and give Joe Burrow that extra layer of protection. Although even with an extensive injury history, the risk is worth the potential reward on Muti.

The Cincinnati Bengals met with Netane Muti, Troy Pride Jr. and Akeem Davis-Gaither at the combine. It is not known if the Bengals met with Baun or Mims at this time. If the Bengals grade any of these players highly enough, they could dismiss the national media’s narrative and trade up to get their guy. Last year, the Bengals traded up twice in the 4th round to get Ryan Finley and Michael Jordan. Look for the Bengals to be aggressive once again in the middle rounds as they continue to rebuild for Zac Taylor’s second season.

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1 Comments

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Brad Schlueter

March 11, 2020

Hope we have to choose between Baun and Mims. All depends on FA but need a RT also. I would hate to see him go but if we tag and trade AJ Green we could get a 1st rd. pick for him and hope we get a 2nd rd. pick for Dalton. Would save over 35 million between those two and Green being 32 years old and only playing 8 games of the last 32 games he is a big risk. But if we use the 1st rd. pick for Green we can get our future WR. Having another 2nd rd. pick allows us to grab another day 1 starter at DB, LB or OT. Burrow will cost about 6.5 mil. to sign but the Bengals could take the money for Green and sign any FA out there almost. I hope HC Taylor learned his lesson last year with Sample and drafts players who can play against elite players and win.

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