Coming into the 2013 offseason, offensive tackle was thought to be one of the biggest strength for the Bengals, assuming they re-signed Andre Smith. Because they didn’t use the franchise tag on him and haven’t been able to work out a deal yet, what was once a strength could now suddenly become a gaping hole.
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker:
Analysis: Would the Bengals replace one Alabama offensive tackle bust with another Alabama OT? If not, the best players at wide receiver, running back and linebacker will be the focus.
Fluker seems to be more dedicated, and he carries his weight much better. He would be a good pick at this portion of the draft.
The only way the Bengals make this pick is if Andre Smith is no longer on the team, and that would be an epic failure on the part of Mike Brown. You don’t let one of the game’s best lineman leave for nothing.
Still, if Smith does in fact leave, the Bengals must press on and find his replacement, and Fluker would be a descent replacement. He was once projected as a top-15 pick, but the sudden emergence of Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher has pushed Fluker down on a lot of draft boards.