James Rapien

James Rapien

James Rapien came to talk sports and chew gum, and he's all out of gum.Full Bio


Is Jabrill Peppers a first round option for the Bengals?

Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com was asked about former Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers in his weekly mailbag. He thinks Peppers could be an option for Cincinnati in round one.

Here’s an excerpt of what Hobson wrote:

“I think Peppers will probably be in the discussion at No. 9. The way it’s shaping up is you can get the same kind of guy at No. 8 as you can at No. 18, so at that point why not get a versatile guy that can help you right away? Who cares if he’s not the ninth best player and is actually the 14th or something? Here’s a guy that you know would fit what defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is trying to do match-up wise in nickel and he’d be hell-on-wheels for special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. After a rookie year Peppers plays about half the snaps on defense and is a core guy on teams, no one is going to say ,’Hey, you reached to get him about five spots.’ They’ll just say, ‘He was a good first-round pick.”

I think the special teams benefit should be a non-factor. They have eleven draft picks. Do they really need to add their special teams stud in round one? They should be able to bring in a “core guy” for special teams with a later pick. Some have compared Jabrill Peppers to Tyrann Mathieu. I don’t agree with that assessment. I loved Mathieu  and wanted the Bengals to draft him in 2013 (instead they took Margus Hunt). With that said, I think fans would be on board with the Bengals landing the next ‘Honey Badger’ with the ninth pick.

I want the Bengals to pick the best player available. I lean offense because Andy Dalton needs help, but this team has plenty of needs. Their biggest need is talent. If they truly believe Peppers is the most talented player available when they make the ninth pick, then they should take him.

The Bengals have a roster full of holes. That’s going to make it easy for them to sell whoever they pick in round one. They could use another defensive end, wide receiver, running back or linebacker. Heck, half the fan base probably wants them to take an offensive lineman in round one.

They have to get the pick right. It doesn’t matter what position he plays or what he ran in the 40-yard dash. Can he play football at a high level? Can he help this team get back to the playoffs? Is he good enough to make an instant impact? If the answer is yes, then nothing else matters.

The Bengals haven’t drafted well in recent seasons and lost key players in free agency. There’s more pressure on them heading into this draft than there has been in the past. They don’t have that luxury of giving their first round pick a glorified redshirt season. The last time Cincinnati faced this much pressure heading into the draft they picked A.J. Green round one. They followed that up by selecting Andy Dalton and Clint Boling. That’s the type of draft success they need to have if they’re going to rebound in 2017.



Pro Football Focus thinks the Bengals should take a wide receiver in round one.

Check out mock draft 2.0.

The Bengals should’ve paid Andrew Whitworth.

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Email me: JamesRapien@espn1530.com

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