It’s that time of the year again when the Bengals are watching the playoffs from home and the front office is preparing for another long offseason. The roster is filled with talent outside of the offensive line. However, the 2018 NFL Draft presents some great options to fill their needs.
Despite having arguably one of the most talented rosters in the league, the Cincinnati Bengals failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The offensive line wasn’t able to provide Andy Dalton with enough time to drop back nor did it allow the running backs to run free.
Cedric Ogbuehi was pretty bad at left tackle, to say the least, but since he was a former first-round pick and a really good tackle in college, there could still be potential in him….hopefully. Regardless, his first round tag will keep him in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future and in the starting lineup.
Jake Fisher was out for the season due to an irregular heartbeat. Russell Bodine and Andre Smith are heading towards free agency. It’s safe to say the offensive line is by far the biggest problem the Bengals have this offseason. Outside of Clint Boling, the Bengals just need to switch everyone out and draft some new studs. Cincinnati is usually good at selecting offensive lineman and with such a high draft pick this year, the Bengals should be able to hit big. The hiring of former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack will definitely help.
Connor Williams, Texas
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma .
As I mentioned before, the Bengals selected a pair of tackles not too long ago. Ogbuehi and Fisher are question marks at best and their poor play has resulted in the Bengals hoping for a quick fix. If Dalton had time to make a throw or Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard could have holes to run through, Cincinnati could very easily be back into the playoffs.
This year, the NFL Draft presents a class of tackles better than years past. Connor Williams out of Texas is by far the best tackle available followed by Mike McGlinchey and Orlando Brown. Brown is the son of the former Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns tackle of the same name. So, he clearly already has the AFC North blood in him. Also, having to block for Heisman winner Baker Mayfield only looks better on his resume.
Tackle is certainly an option with the Bengals top-15 pick. But, with Ogbuehi already on the team, this may be a position the Bengals target after drafting a guard.
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Will Hernandez, UTEP
Branden Smith, Auburn
The hole Kevin Zeitler left after jumping ship from Cincinnati to Cleveland was huge. Zeitler was a force in the running game and the duo of Andre Smith and Zeitler was huge on the right side. The Bengals now have to find Clint Boling a match to go on the other side and with the No. 12 pick in the draft Cincy should select Quenton Nelson.
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Nelson is my personal pick for the Bengals first pick of the draft. No matter how bad Ogbuehi and Fisher played, Cincinnati has young guys on the outside who have potential. Although at right guard, it’s a different story. They could select any of these three players and it would be an upgrade over what was out there last year.
Hopefully, Cincinnati can find another Zeitler-caliber player in this draft. Although, perhaps this player will enjoy winning and not jump ship to go 0-16 with the Browns. Don’t chase the money.
Billy Price, Ohio State
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Mason Cole, Michigan
Lastly, the Bengals may need to select a center at some point in the draft. Russell Bodine is heading towards free agency and some fans wouldn’t mind seeing him walk. Bodine has consistently been overpowered when playing other AFC North defensive tackles. You would think going against the likes of Geno Atkins every day in practice would help him, but it hasn’t.
Billy Price is the top center in this years draft class and could probably be taken in the second round. It’s pretty rare for centers to be taken any higher. The Bengals are in prime position to get two top-tier players on the offensive line in the first two rounds of the draft.
The Bengals definitely have a huge problem with the offensive line, but it can be solved with the right picks in this upcoming draft. Look for the Bengals to select multiple offensive linemen in this year’s draft. It could potentially be a variation of the names above.