Cornerback tendencies, a third round streak, and other NFL Draft trends to note for the Bengals

Predicting the NFL Draft is tough, but teams like the Cincinnati Bengals leave clues year in and year out on how to forecast future decisions.

Certain positions have been valued the same way in Cincinnati for over two decades. Even under two different head coaches, there are some facts about their process that stand the test of time and regime change.

Whether you’re building your own mock draft, or just setting expectations for how the real draft is going to unfold, here are a few noteworthy Bengals draft trends to remember.

Day 2 wide receiver phenomenon

When the Bengals need real long-term answers at wide receiver, they don’t mess around. A.J. Green, John Ross, and Ja’Marr Chase were all top-10 picks, but picks 33-100 are also in play at the position as well.

Jerome Simpson, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins were each selected between the second and third round of their respective draft classes. What makes it really interesting is each one was selected four years apart going all the way back to 2008.

Higgins was the most recent selection in 2020, four years ago. The Summer Olympics, presidential election, and leap year all mean one thing: the Bengals are drafting a receiver pretty early this month.

Third round is for defense

Stretching even further back into the 2000s and you’ll find another ongoing streak in the top 100 picks, specifically in the third round. The last time the Bengals haven’t used a third-round pick on a defensive player was in 2005. That pick was the late Chris Henry. They didn’t have a third-round pick in 2007.

There have been four drafts in this 18-year run in which the Bengals have had two third-round picks. They’ve selected an offensive player each time, but a defensive player always ends up becoming a Bengal before the round concludes.

Cincinnati has two picks in the round for the first time in six years. One for each side of the ball is a fair expectation.

Really early, or really late at cornerback

Cincinnati’s first-round pick always had a good chance of being a cornerback during the Marvin Lewis era. Five times in an 11-year span did the club go in that direction. It hasn’t happened since William Jackson III was selected in 2016, and it’s not likely to happen this year, but Zac Taylor’s Bengals have started their own similar trend.

The Bengals have gone cornerback in the second round of the last two drafts with Cam Taylor-Britt, and DJ Turner II. Clearly the philosophy of investing in the position early on is still strong inside the war room, and when there isn’t a cornerback worth taking in the first 60 picks, there’s no rush to select one until very late.

It’s been nine years since the Bengals have taken a cornerback between the 64th pick and the 150th pick. That was Josh Shaw back in 2015. Late round swings have been taken, but the middle rounds are usually never an option.

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