The Cincinnati Bengals biggest need is help along the offensive line but with a stacked class of interior linemen, they could wait till the second round.
The Cincinnati Bengals have eleven picks going into the 2018 NFL Draft and there’s no position that needs more help than the offensive line. With the trading for left tackle Cordy Glenn, the Bengals still have needs at center, at least one guard, and right tackle. Luckily for them, this year’s draft is loaded with offensive line players, especially on the interior.
We have looked at some of the centers that have been buzzing around the draft class over the last couple weeks trying to figure out who the Bengals might take at pick 21. We have also taken a look at what guys could possibly be there in the second round. Even if the Bengals need to trade up in the second or third round, they have the draft capital to do it. There are not eleven spots open on this Bengals team so they should absolutely bundle some of those picks and move up to get players they want.
Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson will easily be a top 10 draft pick and not be there for the Bengals but there are great linemen that will be there. Most of the hype revolves around guys like Ohio State center Billy Price, Iowa center James Daniels, Georgia guard/tackle Isaiah Wynn, and UTEP guard Will Hernandez. These are all guys that have been talked about going in the first round that Cincinnati might have the chance to draft.
There are also some of those guys that might drop to the early part of the second round. If the Bengals can grab one of these guys left over in the second round it would be a great move for them. We have taken a look at James Daniels here already, and he could definitely be a solid draft prospect for the Bengals. NFL’s Mike Mayock discussed how some of these guys will likely be there in the second round.
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“I think the next group of guys, Isaiah Wynn, James Daniels, Will Hernandez, Billy Price, I think they’ll all probably go, worst case, end of the second to the beginning of the third,” Mayock said.
With the draft being loaded, there’s not a big dropoff if any to some of the guys listed in the second round. Players that are looking at second round stock are Auburn guard Braden Smith, Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, and Nevada lineman Austin Corbett. I reviewed Frank Ragnow earlier this week and personally think that he is a better grab than Price or Daniels at center. He allowed zero sacks in his three years at Arkansas at both center and guard. He’s also extremely versatile and can move to guard at any time with no dropoff in his play. If the Bengals can wait till round two and grab Ragnow, that would be an absolute steal.
Some positions that the Bengals might want to address in this year’s draft that is not nearly as deep are cornerbacks and edge defenders. We know the Bengals like selecting cornerbacks in the first round and could arguably need another corner to lock down a part of the field with some of the struggles in the secondary. It would also secure them for the future if they cannot come to an agreement on a long-term deal with cornerback Darqueze Dennard who is playing under his fifth-year option in 2018.
Edge defender is another area that Cincinnati could add some talent in the first round. Carl Lawson will be taking on more linebacker roles in 2018 under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. The Bengals need an edge defender that can not only rush the passer but defend the run game which is an area that Lawson has struggled. Drafting another edge would also be insurance as defensive end Carlos Dunlap is only signed at this point through the 2018 season.
They also might look at interior defensive linemen in this year’s draft to put alongside defensive tackle Geno Atkins to help plug the middle. Cincinnati brought in defensive tackle Chris Baker earlier this offseason on a one year deal but they could definitely improve in the draft. The team needs to get better at stopping the run and a player along the defensive line could help. Cincinnati allowed the third most rushing yards in 2017 allowing 2,046 yards.
While the offensive line is still the biggest overall need with multiple spots to fill, there are other areas that the team could decide to go in the first round. Interior offensive linemen are deep in this draft all the way through the third round and with having four picks in the first three rounds it wouldn’t be the worst thing if they moved on another position in the first.