2014 NFL Draft: AFC North Picks, Rounds 2 & 3

3 of 3

Cincinnati Bengals

Round 2, 55th Overall: Jeremy Hill, RB LSU

Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers running back Jeremy Hill (33) is tackled in the end zone for a touchdown by Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris (44) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Hill was part of a run on running backs in the second round (three in four selections) after no running back was taken in the first round all the way up to the 54th overall pick.  After selecting Daqueze Dennard in the first round, the Bengals went offense in the second round.  While running back wasn’t necessarily a position of need for the Bengals, they could use some bolstering in the running game after ranking 18th in yards and a at times shaky BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

"His tape against Auburn was as good a tape I saw out of a running back this year. He’s made to be a tailback in the NFL.   – Mike Mayock"

And a tailback he will be.  Hill will bring competition to the roster during camp and may become an eventual 1-2 punch with Green-Ellis.  It will be interested to see how he performs against a supposed beefed up run stopping Steelers defense.

Round 3, 88th Overall: Will Clarke, DE West Virginia

Oct 5, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Will Clarke (98) waits for play to begin against the Baylor Bears during the game at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Mountaineers 73-42. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals switched back to the defensive side of the ball with their 3rd round selection.  Tall but slim, Will Clarke appears to be a bit of a surprise as a third round pick for the Bengals even though the need is high.  Projected as a 5th or 6th rounder, Clarke appears to be rough around the edges to be a polished NFL starter fresh out of the box.  The Bengals had a very good defense in 2013, and their two DE’s – Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson – combined for 10 sacks.  However, they lost Johnson in the offseason and need to replace him.  Enter Clarke.

"He’s got some twitch to him. The 4-3 teams are looking for the long defensive ends with some twitch. That Bengals front is going to be excellent again.      – Mike Mayock"

Twitch, eh?  Well Clarke certainly is long at 6’6″ and has a tremendous arm length.  But the question is will he be able to develop more than a swim move to try and get past offensive linemen?  The rookie will really have to step up.