Texas DT Malcom Brown
The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that has been wallowing in mediocrity for some time now. Just good enough to compete with anyone, but not great enough to win the games that matter. The Bengals are just missing a spark somewhere. With the 21st selection there were two players in particular I was targeting to provide that spark, two players that would be considered home run swings, boom or bust prospects. Those players unfortunately were both off the board at No. 21 (Breshard Perriman and Dorial Green-Beckham). Those guys would've added an extra element to the Bengals offense and would've given Andy Dalton another weapon to play with, which is a good thing since Dalton needs all the help he can get, and than some.
With both of those players already taken however, I had to go back to the drawing board. I had a few choices in mind. I thought about playing it safe an selecting an offensive tackle. It's the route most mock drafts have the Bengals going in and it does make sense on the surface, as Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith are both on contracts that are coming up soon. Drafting an offensive tackle would be the easy route and would provide insurance in the case of losing either of these players. The problem with this line of thinking, is that the Bengals don't have to lose either of these players. The Bengals have plenty of cap space to play with in the next couple years and Whitworth and Smith are both guys who would be well deserving of an extension. Both are top players at their respective positions. Smith has some injury concerns and Whitworth isn't getting any younger, so offensive tackle isn't a position the Bengals should just completely ignore in this draft, but I feel like there's better value for this team at offensive tackle in other rounds. Furthermore there isn't an offensive tackle in this draft that's going to help the Bengals get over the hump and help them end the playoff blues.
That's what my selection came down to. Who can help the Bengals win now? Dalton's contract is set-up to where they can cut ties after this season. Marvin Lewis' contract ends after the 2016 season. To me this is their last chance to prove their worth. That's why I want to give them a guy who can help make an impact on the side of the ball, that needs to excel for the Bengals to have an opportunity to make some noise in this season. Defense! It's what wins championships and it's what the Bengals need to carry them this season. The Bengals need stellar play from their running game and defense, because Dalton is more of a hindrance to their team, than a help. If the Bengals are going to be successful, it will be in spite of Dalton and not because of him.
That's why I ultimately decided on Malcom Brown. Malcom Brown adds an extra element to the Bengals defense. He's an ascending player with the versatility to be used in a variety of ways along the Bengals defensive line and will help improve the Bengals front seven, which wasn't as strong for the Bengals last year as it has been in seasons past. Last year the entire Bengals team combined for less sacks, than our own beloved Justin Houston had all by himself. The selection of Malcom Brown should help to change that.
He's the top player on the board who I feel can make an immediate impact, whilst still having plenty of ceiling room for him to reach his true potential. He's big, he's fast, and he's a game changer. He's the newest member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mock draft order
21. Bengals - DT Malcom Brown