Media Mock Draft 4.0: A Bill Of Appreciation With One Final Option at No. 18, But Hay Is In The Barn

Hey Partner, we dedicate this last Media Mock Draft of 2024 to Bill Tobin, the long-time Bengals scouting juggernaut we lost last week at age 83. Media Mock Draft 4.0: A Bill Of Appreciation With One Final Option at No. 18, But Hay Is In The Barn

Hey Partner.

That’s how Bill Tobin would often greet you.

Classic, really.

The greeting threw you back to Bill’s earthy era and upbringing. Born almost a year before Pearl Harbor, Bill grew up on a Missouri farm and he approached his craft with the carefully trained eye and relentless work ethic a farmer would use to gauge the sky and land of northwest Missouri.

He was down to that earth, too. Here was a guy who had built one of the greatest teams of all-time in Chicago and a decade later he approached you unprompted. An anonymous just-a-guy Cincinnati scribe on the Indianapolis sidelines watching Bill’s Colts practice for the playoffs.

After a pleasant first conversation that went longer than expected, Bill called it. “You remind me of Jimmy McNally,” the Bengals legendary offensive line coach. Always observing and pulling out an NFL comp.

A few years later when Bill joined the Bengals personnel department, he discovered the guy who reminded him of McNally now worked in the same building with him. Bill famously guarded information like the draft board was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and while he might have been a bit concerned at first and then finally a bit bemused, he was always unfailingly cooperative when you ever asked him for an interview.

(Not sure what he thought of the Media Mock, but you have an idea. Maybe a shake of the head and maybe he might humor you. Not his cup of tea. They say he was gruff, but, hey, he had enough charm to marry Miss Missouri, 1960.)

“You talk to Pierson lately?” he might ask of Don Pierson of The Chicago Tribune, one of the nation’s top NFL reporters back in the day. And any interview with him was packed with unforgettable nuggets.

You can still see him on a dirt road in front of a prospect’s home measuring out 40 yards and how he cut a couple of inches out of the bottom of his projector so he could store it on the plane above his seat. You could listen to him talk about scouting Walter Payton forever and how he got his first taste of “Sweetness,” training his projector on a Jackson State wall.

You look around this week of Thursday’s draft and the guys he helped grow up in the personnel department are subdued. Their thoughts are immersed in the draft, but they’re also with him and their boss Duke Tobin as he pitches the last strands of hay without his dad.

One of the guys quoted Bill on Wednesday as he sat at his desk. “The hay is in the barn.” There’s been a lot of that this week as they recalled some of the things they learned from him.

“Trust your grades. Let the board talk to you,” Bill would say. They credit him for breaking the Tyler Boyd logjam in the 2016 second round. Maybe a seminal moment in the Bengals’ shift to a scouting-centric approach. A confidence boost for the young staff Duke was developing.

Bill had a second-round grade on Boyd. So did at least two other scouts. There was some pushback when Bill offered from the back of the room something like, “We’ve got a second-round grade on the guy and here we are in the second round.”

You could feel Bill’s weight in the room. Not just because he built the ’85 Bears, but when he offered his opinion, people valued it because he did the work. Boyd ended up with 513 catches and 6,000 yards as a franchise staple who spanned A.J. Green and Ja’Marr Chase.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, born the year Tobin drafted Hall of Fame tackle Jimbo Covert, recalled a similar moment Monday in the 2021 draft when the Bengals were staring at Florida kicker Evan McPherson in the fifth round.

“My favorite one,” Taylor said of that voice in the back of the room. “(Tobin) spoke up and said, ‘Iin 1985 at the Bears, we took a rookie kicker and we went to the Super Bowl and it worked out well for us.’ And I just kind of remember there being a silence after that comment. And the next thing I remember was Duke submitting the pick for Evan McPherson.

“I think we were leaning that way anyway, but that comment always resonated with me and he was obviously making his voice heard in that moment and the next thing you know, Duke’s putting in Evan’s name and that’s probably where Duke was headed anyway, but it’s always good to have that last piece of advice.”

Footnote: The Bengals went to the Super Bowl when McPherson had the greatest rookie kicking season ever.

There was a lot of that this week. Bill’s voice recalled in key moments, helping mentor the department at the same time. Prospects still a huge part of the future. Logan Wilson. Dax Hill. The comforting cross-checks on Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.

“He was the best,” one of the guys said.

Hey Partner, here’s the last Media Mock for now.

1.BEARS: QB Caleb Williams, USC; Brad Biggs, The Chicago Tribune: A move that has all the suspense of a Windy City mayoral election with a Daley on the ballot.

2.COMMANDERS: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU; John Keim, Joe Burrow’s Bayou ancestor gets his own franchise.

3.PATRIOTS: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina; Karen Guregian, Suddenly, there’s more intrigue surrounding the Pats draft room than Sam Adams’ Sons of Liberty. A trade out here would have to have enough ammo to match Lexington and Concord.

4.CARDINALS: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State; Darren Urban, If the Pats don’t make the night’s first trade, then the Cards deal for a needy roster that can use pretty much everything. Tackle. Edge. Wide receiver. Until their clock starts, we give them the top guy on the board.

5.CHARGERS: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame; Jeff Miller, The Los Angeles Times**:** Jim Harbaugh doesn’t stray far from Ann Arbor in his overhaul of a team that has done everything with Justin Herbert but win.

6.GIANTS: WR Malik Nabers, LSU; Mike Eisen, Amid some tabloid-sized trade rumors for a quarterback.

7.TITANS: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia; Turron Davenport, Per Davenport: “Throw out position and look at the playmaking ability. He’s a matchup problem and is capable of gaining yards after the catch that would add a boost to the Titans passing game.”

8.FALCONS: DE Laiatu Latu, UCLA**;**D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Atlanta moves off the consensus No. 1 pass rusher Dallas Turner and goes with a multi-season double-digit sacker who played for new Falcons defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake at Washington.

9.BEARS: WR Rome Odunze, Washington; Brad Biggs, The Chicago Tribune: Back-to-back picks trained by former Bengals this offseason. T.J. Houshmandzadeh has Odunze and Domata Peko has Latu.

10.JETS: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State; Rich Cimini, Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack draft-day dueling with his old club. Bowers is a factor here, too.

11.VIKINGS: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan; Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star-Tribune: You feel like Vikings head coach and offensive guru Kevin O’Connell needs to get this right whether they trade up or not for their first post-Kirk Cousins pick.

12.BRONCOS: QB Bo Nix, Oregon; Mike Klis, 9News: Four Media Mocks, four times Klis goes with a player not rated this high.

13.RAIDERS: QB Michael Penix, Washington; Vinny Bonsignore, Las Vegas Review-Journal**:** He just seems like a Raiders QB. Battle-scarred. Battle-tested. Penix may have Jim Plunkett knees, but Plunkett was a great warrior who was savvy enough and accurate enough to fling the Raiders downfield to titles.

14.SAINTS: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State; Jeff Duncan, More of a left tackle and that’s a gift for a Saints offensive line that has question marks instead of depth on the edge.

15.COLTS: DE Dallas Turner, Alabama; Stephen Holder, The Colts are probably going to end up taking the first cornerback, but this scenario is the top ten guy you never thought would be there.

16.SEAHAWKS: T Troy Fautanu, Washington; John Boyle, Per Boyle: With a huge gap between this pick and their next one, No. 81 overall, trading back seems like a very real possibility for the Seahawks. But if they do make a pick here, bolstering their offensive line makes a lot of sense, particularly by adding an elite talent who played for current Seahawks offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and offensive line coach Scott Huff at Washington.

17.JAGUARS: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo; Michael DiRocco, DiRocco has never wavered in four Media Mocks this year. A cornerback every time for a secondary that allowed Jake Browning to throw for 354 yards while completing 86% of his 37 passes.

LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) stretches to break the plane of the end zone for a touchdown against Georgia State cornerback Bryquice Brown (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

18.BENGALS: WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU; Geoff Hobson, This is our fourth different selection, one for each Media Mock, for purposes of discussion. The three previous picks are still available here: Texas three technique Byron Murphy II, Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton, and Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins, all of whom fill their biggest needs.

And if you need a right tackle, he’s on this list of big board players culled from, Pro Football Focus, and Scouts, Inc. At 6-6, 342 pounds and 6-8, 340 pounds, Alabama’s J.C. Latham and Georgia’s Amarius Mims, respectively, are literally looming, as well as intriguing names like Tyler Guyton, Graham Barton, and Jordan Morgan.

You want a tackle, but do you need a tackle with 10-year vet Trent Brown in tow? Here’s the other thing. How deep do they think the first-round tackles go? And every time you turn around, it always seems like Murphy is someone’s hottest guy.

The nice thing about this draft is there is plenty of value between Nos. 60-120, where the Bengals have three picks.

So what about a sure-fire touchdown-maker at No. 18? With Boyd gone in the slot, wide receiver is a need and what first-round prospect checks the boxes like Thomas?

At 6-3, 209 pounds with a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, he’s big and fast, just like the Bengals have ordered their receivers since 1968.


He’s a proven big-school producer. According to PFF, Thomas led the nation in 12 touchdown catches of at least 20 yards, was second with 670 yards worth of 20-yard balls, and was third with 15 catches of at least 20 yards.


Thomas visited Paycor Stadium for a top-30 visit, where he showed off his terrific football IQ.

Check and check.

We know this because Houshmandzadeh, the Bengals all-time, has been training him and he said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had been impressed after talking ball with him.

“He can fly and he’s smart,” Houshmandzadeh says. “About as smart as any receiver you’ll find.”

The pundits project Thomas as a starter in a year or two, saying he needs to polish his game because his route-running needs improvement.

Houshmandzadeh dismisses that like his own seventh-round selection: “Not after I get through with him. He’s ready to go right now.”

Related Posts

Anаlyst: How Byron Murрһy сould һelр Seаһаwks’ fіnаnсіаl future

Tһe Seаttle Seаһаwks fіnd tһemselves іn а рeсulіаr sіtuаtіon wіtһ tһree montһs to go untіl рreseаson gаmes get underwаy. How Seаttle Seаһаwks mаde ‘smаrt deсіsіons’ іn NFL…

Bronсos’ Seаn Pаyton Mаkes Bold Predісtіon About NFL Rule Cһаnge

Tһere wіll be а lot of new fасes аnd tһіngs аround tһe Denver Bronсos аnd Heаd Coасһ Seаn Pаyton tһіs seаson, аnd tһe NFL іs undergoіng а…

Gіаnts’ Brіаn Dаboll sаys һe һаs ‘сonfіdenсe’ іn Cor’Dаle Flott

Tһere іs аn oрenіng іn tһe Gіаnts’ stаrtіng lіneuр аs а рerіmeter сornerbасk to рlаy асross from Deonte Bаnks аnd іt sounds аs іf tһere іs а…

NFL Wrіter Mаkes Inсredіbly Bold Suрer Bowl Predісtіon

Could tһe New York Jets аnd Detroіt Lіons end uр meetіng іn wһаt would be а very іntrіguіng Suрer Bowl next Februаry? Bleасһer Reрort’s Gаry Dаvenрort tһіnks…

Wһy Mаzі Smіtһ’s weіgһt іs so іmрortаnt for tһe Cowboys suссess

Mаzі Smіtһ һаd а seаson to forget іn 2023. Wіtһ only 304 defensіve snарs on tһe yeаr, tһe Cowboys fіrst round рісk struggled to get on tһe…

Could Baltimore Ravens Sign Pro Bowl Safety To Bolster Defense?