Cincinnati Bengals 2017 NFL Draft retrospective

Cincinnati Bengals, NFL Draft Retrospective

How does the Cincinnati Bengals 2017 NFL draft class look three years after their entrance to the league?

The Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2017 draft with the rights to the ninth overall selection. It was their first occasion picking in the top 10 in quite some time, as the team had earned five straight playoff appearances prior.

Original Grade

Fansided: C-

Overall, the Bengals needed a lot of players after failing miserably in 2017 NFL free agency. Not addressing guard or tackle was unacceptable. However, they did have a ton of needs they needed to address. At least the Bengals got to most of them. There is just too much bust potential across the Bengals’ NFL Draft for them to get a decent grade. There is upside, but they still had a risky draft despite having 11 picks.

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 9)

John Ross

WR, Huskies

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

The selection of John Ross was perhaps the most unexpected in the entire first round. The Bengals front office had attempted to trade back but couldn’t find a team wanting to make the leap forward. Instead, they drafted the fastest man in combine history in the hopes that he was the missing piece to get them over the playoff hump.

Ross is still with the Bengals but has had a slow start to his career. Injuries have plagued him thus far, but he has shown flashes of potential. If he can stay on the field and address the dropped passes, he still has a chance to live up to his draft billing.

Round 2 (No. 48)

Joe Mixon

RB, Sooners

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon more than likely would have been a top 10 pick had it not been for his off-field concerns. The Bengals had Jeremy Hill but by 2017, he had regressed in a major way. Taking Mixon signified the team was ready to find its new lead running back.

So far, Mixon has been stellar. He’s had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons despite playing behind a middling offensive line. It can be argued the former Oklahoma running back is in the top five at his position in the league and on the brink of a Pro Bowl appearance.

Round 3 (No. 73)

Jordan Willis

DE, Wildcats


Unfortunately, Willis didn’t pan out for the team. After the Bengals switched to a new coaching regime, he no longer fit into the plans for the future and was cut. The Jets pick him up on waivers and he now serves in a backup role in New York.

Round 4 (No. 116)

Carl Lawson

DE, Tigers

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

Lawson has been great thus far for the Bengals when he’s been healthy. He handles the role of a pass-rush specialist extremely well, winning reps at a high rate. Two years removed from injury, the former Auburn Tiger figures to be a core player as the Bengals attempt to rebuild.

Round 4 (No. 128)

Josh Malone

WR, Volunteers


Malone never lived up to the pro comparison the Bengals had given him. Now, he finds himself on a New York Jets squad alongside his former teammate Jordan Willis. He’s failed to make much of an impact in the Big Apple and looks like he may soon be out of the league.

Round 4 (No. 138)

Ryan Glasgow

DT, Wolverines

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

The former Wolverine has had major issues staying on the field, ending the past two seasons on the injured reserve. However, when he has been able to go, he’s played his role well. If he can stay healthy, the front office will surely want to keep him around.

Round 5 (No. 153)

Jake Elliot

K, Tigers

CURRENT TEAM: Philadelphia Eagles

Unfortunately, Elliot didn’t do enough to beat out Randy Bullock in training camp and was cut by the team before he got the chance to see a regular-season game in stripes. The Eagles happily picked up Elliot, however, and the two have formed a solid partnership. The former Memphis kicker has proven Bengals’ decision-makers were wrong to give up on him so soon.

Round 5 (No. 176)

J.J Dielman

C, Utes


Dielman, like several other players in this draft class, didn’t work out. He bounced around the league until he decided to hang up his cleats.

Round 6 (No. 193) Jordan Evans, LB, Oklahoma

Jordan Evans

LB, Sooners

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

Under Marvin Lewis, Evans played early and often. However, he was frequently a liability and susceptible to giving up big plays. Once head coach Zac Taylor took over, it was clear he no longer fits into their plans moving forward. He has potential but the Bengals staff never seemed to be able to develop him fully.

Round 6 (No. 207)

Brandon Wilson

CB, Cougars

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

So far, Wilson has carved out a role for himself as a deadly kick-off returner. This year, he had a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. His campaign was cut short due to injury, but he’s shown potential.

Round 7 (No. 251)

Mason Schreck

TE, Cincinnati Bengals

CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

So far, Schreck hasn’t shown much but he has stuck around with the team. He’s had a couple of instances where he showed flashes, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together. This season will be a big one for the tight end from Buffalo. If he can make a decent impact as the second or third tight end on the roster, he figures to stick around in Cincinnati for a second contract.

Bottom line

Overall, the draft could have gone better for the Bengals, but they did strike gold on some picks. A star running back, quality edge rusher, and exceptional kick returner is a nice haul. However, cutting Elliot prematurely and largely failing to address the offensive line room is hard to overlook.

With some players off to a great start and others with plenty of potential, only time will tell if the 2017 class can take another step in their development and turn things around in Cincinnati.

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