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Bengals re-set for rounds 2 and 3 with pundits' praise of 1


Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller starts on the board in Friday's draft.

Even as Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin and his staff held a midnight re-setting of their board for Friday's second and third rounds of the NFL Draft (7 p.m.-NFL Network), praise rolled in for the club's selection of Houston cornerback Will Jackson III. gave it an A. So did Pete Prisco of CBS with "Love this pick. He was my top corner."  ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., said it was one of the picks he liked and thought Jackson would have been a fit for the Steelers.

"Throw in his 6-foot frame, sub-4.4 speed, and excellent movement skills and Jackson has all of the tools to improve on his already-impressive production," PFF said. "Jackson flashes the downfield ball skills to become a playmaker in both a man or zone scheme and the Bengals may have gotten one of the steals of the draft."

Maybe even better, PFF gave the Steelers a D for picking Miami cornerback Artie Burns: "In a mismatch of skillsets and scheme, the Steelers take Burns . . .  the Steelers played more zone coverage than any team in the league last year and that's where Burns has his struggles."

We'll see what Tobin and his guys do for an encore. The elephant in the room is wide receiver as they look to replace Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. They didn't get one in the first round, but no one appears rattled, especially after they got a highly-rated player like Jackson at a premium position.

And they're acting like they've been here before because they have. In 2012, after losing their No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers in free agency, they didn't draft receivers until the third and fifth rounds.

A number of expected first-rounders didn't get tabbed Thursday night, but don't expect many, if any to get to the Bengals at No. 55 in the second. Still on the board are UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Alabama defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, Ohio State safety and Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas.

There is a glut of good defensive linemen out there, a position some believe lasts until the fourth round with solid contributors. The second round has been fertile ground for Bengals wide receivers. It is home to the top two receivers in Bengals history, Chad Johnson and Carl Pickens, as well as three-time Pro Bowler Cris Collinsworth.

Lurking this time around Friday as potential second-rounders identified by CBS besides Thomas is Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd, Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard, and South Carolina's Pharaoh Cooper.  But if you think the first round is a crapshoot, try Friday.

The Jackson pick shows the Bengals are again sticking with their board over need and with highly thought of players like Alabama defensive tackle Jaren Reed, Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Obeah and Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings still available, they're ready to pocket a surprise slide.

And there is Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence, a speedy rusher who is small at 261 pounds and has character issues but has loads of talent.


With the 24th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bengals select William Jackson from Houston


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