The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t hurting at guard. Kevin Zeitler has proven to be one of the league’s best guards, and Clint Boling, who missed some time due to injury last season, has proven to be a solid player. They also have veteran Mike Pollack on the bench as well as the newly signed Marshall Newhouse. Therefore, it’s not likely that they will target a guard early, but here are some options if they do decide to select one in this draft.
1. Xavier Su’a-Filo: Depending on how teams see Zach Martin, Su’a-Filo could be the best guard in this draft class. He’s equally adept against the run and in the passing game, and will be ready to play early on. If the Bengals want him, it’ll probably have to be in round one, though. He’s not likely to be available by the time they pick again in round two.
2. Gabe Jackson: Jackson is huge, and as strong as he should be. The Bengals suffered from pressure up the middle at times last year, and Jackson immediately helps there. He’s also a solid run blocker, though he will sometimes struggle when he gets to the second level. If he’s there in the second round, they have to at least consider him.
3. David Yankey: An athletic guard, Yankey is a terrific run blocker who gets out in front and opens running lanes. He’s also a smart player and a hard worker who can be counted on to do his best to reach his ceiling. If he can improve his pass blocking, he could be one of the top guards from the 2014 draft.
4. Dakota Dozier: Another really good run blocker, Dozier is more raw, and has less big-game experience than the others. However, he is immensely talented and has a high ceiling. He needs coaching up in pass protection, and played tackle in college, but he could be worth a third round pick.
5. Brandon Thomas: Thomas was a red-hot prospect until he tore his ACL in a workout this offseason. He has a lot of experience and could possibly play tackle too, adding value. He’s tremendously strong, and plays hard, excelling particularly in the run game. The Bengals love versatile linemen and could wind up with a steal if he falls to the later rounds due to his injury.