One year after drafting one of the least productive first-round picks in franchise history, the Cincinnati Bengals will be back on the clock Thursday night when the NFL Draft gets underway in Dallas.
Last year’s first-found pick, wide receiver John Ross, was injured most of the year and ended up playing 17 snaps with no catches, one rush and one lost fumble as the Bengals posted a second-consecutive losing season.
Whomever the team selects with its first pick Thursday night will be expected to have a much bigger role, possibly as a starter depending which position the Bengals target.
Here are five things to know about the 2018 Bengals draft.
Teams have 10 minutes to make a pick in the first round, and many of them will use the full allotment as they listen to trade offers from clubs wanting to move up.
If a trade is made, the clock resets to 10 minutes, but usually the pick comes in short time later because when a team trades up it knows who it wants.
Using past drafts as a guide, the 21st selection in 2017 came at 10:40 p.m. In 2016, it was 10:33 p.m. And in 2015, when the Bengals took Cedric Ogbuehi 21st, the pick was at 10:27 p.m.
In addition to Ogbuehi in 2015, the Bengals also picked 21st in 2013 (Tyler Eifert), 2010 (Jermaine Gresham) and 1986 (Tim McGee).
McGee was the team’s second pick in the first round in 1986, after Joe Kelly at 11.
If they hang on to the 21st pick Thursday night, it will become the most common first-round draft slot in team history.
The other first-round spots the Bengals have picked four times are third (Akili Smith, 1999; Anthony Munoz, 1980; Jack Thompson, 1979; Eddie Edwards, 1977) and 17th (Dre Kirkpatrick, 2012; David Pollack, 2005; Brian Simmons, 1998; Jason Buck, 1987).
The only spots where the Bengals have never picked are 19th, 20th, 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd.
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Plenty of picks
After making a single pick Thursday, barring a trade, the Bengals will be busy making 10 more picks Friday and Saturday.
Only the Green Bay Packers (12) have more picks than the Bengals’ 11.
If the Bengals don’t trade for or trade away any picks, it will be the second year in a row they’ve had 11, equaling the team’s most since the NFL reduced the draft to seven rounds in 1994.
The Bengals have one pick in the first and second rounds, two in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and three in the seventh.
Offense vs. defense
The last time the Bengals used their first pick to take players on the same side of the ball in back-to-back years was 2010 (Gresham) and 2011 (wide receiver Andy Dalton).
If the trend continues this year, the Bengals will be selecting a defensive player after taking Ross No. 9 overall in 2017.
The offensive-defensive breakdown since the roster reboot in 2011 looks like this:
2017: 6 offense, 4 defense, 1 special teams
2016: 3 offense, 4 defense
2015: 5 offense, 4 defense
2014: 4 offense, 4 defense
2013: 7 offense, 3 defense
2012: 5 offense, 5 defense
2011: 5 offense, 3 defense
BENGALS DRAFT POSITION PREVIEWS
In the 15 previous drafts of the Marvin Lewis era, the Bengals have taken a cornerback with their first pick five times.
No other position has been targeted more than twice (tackle, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker).
The team went quarterback and running back once each.
2018 NFL Draft: TV schedule, channels
Thursday, April 26
8 p.m. ET
NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Friday, April 27
Second and Third Rounds
7 p.m. ET
NFL Network, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2
Saturday, April 28
Fourth through Seventh Rounds
12 p.m. ET
ABC, ESPN, NFL Network