Bengals News

Thursday mailbag: post NFL meetings

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Michael Johnson
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Michael Johnson /
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BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 10: Offensive linemen Andre Smith
BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 10: Offensive linemen Andre Smith /

How many offensive linemen will the Bengals draft in the first three rounds?

Considering the instability along the offensive line, the Bengals will almost assuredly invest at least one top-three pick on it. Two is not out of the realm of possibility either. The acquisition of left tackle Cordy Glenn helped quite a bit, but the right half of the line still needs a lot of work. Aside from Glenn and left guard Clint Boling (who can also play tackle), the Bengals could stand to upgrade all other positions along the line.

Following the departure of center Russell Bodine, I expect the Bengals to address the center position first of any offensive line position. The elite crop of centers in this years draft are Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow, Iowa’s James Daniels, and Ohio State’s Billy Price – comprise one of the most talented groups of center prospects in recent years. One or more of these guys should be available for the Bengals in round 2 should they go another direction in the first round.

While I don’t think Cincinnati will spend both a first and a second-round pick on the offensive line, they could use their third-round pick on a high-floor guard or tackle. Ideally, Auburn offensive guard Braden Smith or Oregon offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby would be available, as both were extremely reliable in college against strong competition. If the Bengals commit to a win-now philosophy, they should focus on these immediate contributor types who can bolster the offensive line this year.

There are several other team needs for the Bengals in the draft this year, like defensive tackle, linebacker, and the secondary. The Bengals should definitely invest early draft capital in the offensive line, but not at the expense of the defense. I expect them to use just one of their top three picks on offensive line, but two is a distinct possibility.

-Answered by Jack Lane