Safety wasn’t viewed as a big need for the Bengals going into the NFL Draft, but it was an area they wanted another playmaker at. That’s why they selected Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates with the 54th overall pick.
Coming into the draft, Bates was regarded as one of the best play-making safeties, and the Bengals needed to find a way to upgrade a secondary that didn’t force enough turnovers in 2017. Many experts though Bates someone worthy of a second-round pick, but not everyone was convinced.
ESPN’s Todd McShay had Bates ranked 53rd overall coming into the draft, while Mel Kiper ranked him 52nd. NFL.com ranked Bates 49th,
CBS Sports had him ranked 131st. The Cold Omaha Consensus Big Board, which factors in every major draft ranking, had Bates ranked as the 57th-best prospect in this draft.

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