Over the course of May, both Joe Marino and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Cincinnati Bengals.
The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:
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Best Value: RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
Mixon, if he keeps himself on the straight and narrow off the field, has the physical ability to be the best running back in this year’s Draft class. Mixon has size, burst, balance and power. He’s effective as a receiver and has the frame to continue to get better as a blocker. Mixon is much more dynamic than current Bengals RB Jeremy Hill and figures to push for a starting role early.
Mixon has a great chance to be a high impact runner, although there is some question if he’s facing a playing style transition given how well Oklahoma spread the field and created thin boxes for Mixon to run through. Mixon was a top 10 player and my running back one, so I’m not overly concerned about his long term transition.
Worst Value: WR John Ross, Washington
Ross is an exciting player, make no mistake about it. I likened him to a quicker version of Tyler Lockett of Seattle, which isn’t necessarily a slight. But for a top ten selection, I’m not especially enthused with the value. I think Ross’ health is going to be a huge variable to his long term success but I’m also of the belief that Ross’ hands and ability to address the ball could detract from him in non-vertical or screen situations.
Could Surprise: WR Josh Malone, Tennessee
Malone is, much like Ross, a big play style receiver. His frame and build is much different, however. Malone has vertical abilities but does bring some length and strength at the catch point to help him haul in passes if he’s harassed with a defender on his hip pocket.
Now, Malone doesn’t have anything close to the straight line speed, short area agility and burst of Ross. But I like Malone as a player in the Bengals’ receiving corp; he fits in physically for a boundary target and should have an opportunity to be a big play receiver, which the Bengals were clearly hoping to come away with in this draft.