The Cincinnati Bengals traded down with the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. It comes as a surprise, considering many were expecting the 41st pick to be where the Bengals would draft a running back.
The first eight picks of the second round came and went, with only two offensive skilled positions taken, Zay Jones to Buffalo (37) and Curtis Samuel (40).
In addition to moving back to the 48th pick, the Bengals also receive Minnesota’s fourth-round pick (128th overall).
With Cincinnati’s original pick, the Vikings drafted Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, a common first-rounder in most mock drafts, who fell on Thursday night amidst some controversial circumstances.
After Kevin Zeitler’s departure in free agency, the Bengals could go after an offensive lineman. However, Alabama tackle Cam Robinson (also a mocked first-round pick) was drafted 34th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp went to the Los Angeles Chargers 38th overall.
Perhaps the biggest defensive need for the Bengals was a pass-rusher. The best one on the board was Michigan State’s Malik McDowell, but he was picked by the Seahawks with the third pick of the second round, despite Seattle’s glaring need to revamp its offensive line for Russell Wilson, who has been sacked 40-plus times for four consecutive years.
This could mean Cincinnati targets another running back, the highly-talented yet controversial Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma. Mixon was dubbed by some as the top running back in this year’s class, but a video of him punching a woman and breaking her jaw caused his stock to plummet.
It could depend on the moves of the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, the two picks in front of Cincinnati. Both teams are in need of a running back. The Colts had the 23rd-ranked rushing offense last season, Baltimore had the 28th.
It will also depend on how the Bengals view Jeremy Hill. The LSU-product has one year left on his contract, so Cincinnati’s selection of any running back could mean a move for the future.