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2016 Bengals Draft Recap

9:30 AM, May 3, 2016
Article by Jacob Geiser

In the past 6-7 years the Bengals have drafted very well. Most of their picks have panned out to be big parts in the organization's recent success. The Bengals will begin the 2016 campaign on a quest to get that elusive first playoff victory since 1990, and they took the rights steps this past week with the way they drafted. Mike Brown and company addressed all the positions that needed help, and gained some depth as well. In the middle of all of that, they got guys who can make an immediate impact in Cincinnati.

1st Round Pick #24: CB William Jackson III (Houston) 
After not getting to draft a wide receiver in the first round, the Bengals went and drafted William Jackson III. The CB position is a spot that the Bengals could be rather thin at for the upcoming year. Darqueze Dennard could miss time while recovering from major shoulder surgery, and Dre Kirkpatrick is entering what could be his last year in a Bengals uniform, so the need to draft a CB was there. WJIII is a guy who can come in and make an impact right away. Some people disagree with the selection; however, I am a fan of it. Jackson uses his speed very well to track down the deep ball. He plays it like a WR, uses his ability to find the ball, and beat the WR to the spot. He was a lock down CB for Houston in a year where their defense was loaded. What makes this pick more interesting is that this was the Steelers' guy. They wanted to draft Jackson III and the Bengals snatched him up. He has a lot of potential, in fact some say he has the potential to be the best corner to come out of this draft. I can see him getting a lot of playing time in his rookie season.

2nd Round Pick #55: WR Tyler Boyd (Pittsburgh)
After missing the opportunity to draft a WR in the 1st round, the Bengals picked Tyler Boyd with their second round pick. Boyd is Mel Kiper Jr's favorite pick for the Bengals. He is a versatile WR who is very similar to Mo Sanu. The Bengals needed to fill that void in their offense, and they did. He finished his career at Pitt leading the team in both receptions and yards. He is a possession type of receiver; he didn't have many dropped passes. Boyd many not be the fastest receiver to come out of the draft, but he makes it up with his physicality. He also was very productive at Pitt despite some very shaky play from the QB position. According to Todd McShay, he is a physical WR who has great hands and lots of versatility which is something the Bengals will use to their advantage. In the current situation, he has the chance to be a very good #3 guy for the Bengals. However, if he makes the most of his opportunity, he can be a good #2. With guys like AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and the RB's, teams won't give any extra attention to him so he can use those one on one match-ups to his advantage. I like the pick; he fits the offense well and can be very important to the Bengals offense. Also, he said he will go "completely at the Steelers and give them hell." I like this guy...

3rd Round Pick #87: ILB Nick Vigil (Utah State)
The Bengals value guys who can play multiple positions; Nick Vigil is that type of linebacker. Mainly playing ILB, he can easily fill voids at the OLB position if need be. Vigil was a very productive linebacker at Utah State, having 30 tackles for loss and over 260 total tackles in his last to season. Some analysts view him as a pick the Bengals reached to get. However, they still think it could pay off with his upside. The only weakness in his game is the fact that he isn't very big. He has a slender frame according to his combine profile. Vigil is a very athletic linebacker who the Bengals can put to could use on the defensive side of the ball as well as the special teams game. Of all the picks, I'm most interested to see how he pans out in the orange and black.

4th Round Pick #122: DT Anthony Billings (Baylor
The 122nd pick could be one of the biggest steals of the draft, if not the biggest. Anthony Billings got grades worthy of being a 1st round draft pick; however, he slid to day #3 at the draft. The Bengals drafted a guy who will add depth the defensive line, and play from day 1. He was an AP All-American at Baylor and destroyed the opposing lineman. He, along with many current Bengals, now has a huge chip on his shoulder. Billings will no doubt use that against teams in the upcoming season. He was mock drafted to go the Bengals in the first round, but fell. No one capitalized on the slide, well no one except the Bengals. With Domata Peko getting older, Billings can slide into his spot over the next year or so. With Atkins and Billings in the middle of that defense, I don't see much getting through. He works downhill and virtually destroys anything in his path. The Bengals made it clear they try to keep their defense at an elite level, adding Billings gives them that street cred. Billings has the chance to be a star in the Queen City.

5th Round Pick #161: G Christian Westerman (Arizona State)
Over the past few years, the Bengals have proven you can never have too much depth in the NFL. Drafting Christian Westerman adds more depth to the offensive line. He was regarded as one of the best pass-protecting guards in the Draft. Westerman can help keep Andy Dalton performing at the level of play he was at last season. Dalton proved last season he is the key to the Bengals taking that next step. Westerman did a great job at protecting the QB's at Arizona State, and I don't see him taking a step back in the NFL. Paul Alexander will utilize the toughest that Westerman plays with. He can be there if any offensive lineman struggle. I like what Westerman can bring to the team, this was a solid pick for the Bengals. Go figure.

6th Round Pick #199: WR Cody Core (Ole Miss)
In the 6th round, the Bengals added an intriguing WR out of Ole Miss in Cody Core. Hey, if you can't get Treadwell why not Core? Core was a WR who was quietly productive as a Rebel. He benefited from teams paying more attention to Treadwell. He has great size and strength to be a nice slot receiver for the Bengals in the next year or two. He had average hands at Ole Miss which may effect him as an NFL receiver. I like the receiving core the Bengals have going into 2016. They may not be done adding WR's but what the have now will do just fine. Core and Boyd are similar to the WR's they are replacing in Jones and Sanu. I think Boyd could be better than Sanu, but Core is more of an open book. He will be another beneficiary of the amount of attention given to both Green and Eifert. Core and Boyd will make a nice impact in their first year in the orange and black.

7th Round Pick #245: S Clayton Fejedelem (Illinois)
When it comes to the 7th round picks, your typically looking to add depth or find the next Tom Brady. The ideal situation for Fejedelem will be special teams. The Bengals value special teams a lot and adding a hard hitting safety like Fejedelem will bring some pop. I don't see him playing much safety for the Bengals. He is more of a run stopping safety who isn't afraid of coming up and laying the hammer. He lacks coverage skills according to some scouts. I think for the first few years of his career, if he is on the Bengals roster or any other NFL roster he will be more a special team player than anything else.

When it comes to giving the Bengals 2016 draft class a grade, I would give them an A-. I think they did a good job filling key positions that needed to be filled. WR is a big positions that needed to be addressed, but they didn't get the chance to in the first round without reaching. I think they did the smart thing and drafted a very good corner. Boyd was a smart pick in the 2nd round; he has the chance to be a great WR for the Bengals. With the amount of picks they had they drafted very well. I can't wait to see what the 2016 draft class holds for the Bengals.