The Bengals are in an interesting spot with the ninth pick. They want to get a player with elite skill and still be able to address a need. I think they're considering five different prospects with the ninth pick. Out of those five prospects, there are only three that I would draft in the first round. I have a few qualifications for the Bengals' first pick. Check out the players and watch highlights below.
1. Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford - This would be a dream scenario for the Bengals. Thomas is exactly what the Bengals are looking for. He's a good pass rusher who tested well at the combine. He is versatile enough to play defensive tackle and defensive end. Thomas will probably be drafted well before the Bengals are on the clock. There are reports suggesting Thomas could fall to the middle of the first round. I think the Bengals would be ecstatic to land Thomas with the ninth pick.
2. John Ross, WR, Washington - Dave Lapham and I agree on Ross. You can't teach speed. Ross is the fastest player in NFL Combine history. He has good hands and is a solid route runner. There isn't another prospect that can do what Ross can in this draft. He has rare speed that opposing defenses would fear. Adding him to an offense that already has A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert would give the Bengals a lethal trio of pass catchers. It would also allow Andy Dalton to get rid of the ball faster, which will be important behind a questionable offensive line. The Bengals appear to have significant interest in Ross and have cleared him medically. Picking him would give fans a reason to believe this team could improve in 2017.
3. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama - Foster is one of the best prospects in this draft. Will the Bengals get him on the field right away? If he's healthy and able to contribute as a rookie, then they should consider him. He did get sent home from the combine and failed a drug test. Ultimately, the Bengals have to weigh the risk versus the reward. If they deep Foster's talent is worth the risk, then they could select him with the ninth pick. Vontaze Burfict, Nick Vigil and Foster would give the Bengals three athletic linebackers. Foster has the most risk out of these three prospects, but you can't deny his talent. I would be on board with the Bengals taking him if Thomas and Ross are already drafted.
For a complete Bengals draft preview, including my thoughts on prospects not mentioned like O.J. Howard and Derek Barnett go here.
Watch highlights of all three prospects below.