Stripe Hype three round mock draft

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez in action during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez in action during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

During our own Stripe Hype mock draft, the Cincinnati Bengals will select UTEP guard Will Hernandez with the 21st overall pick in the draft.

This week we will be doing multiple Stripe Hype mock drafts as we get closer to the draft giving you an idea of what our writers think the Cincinnati Bengals should do and what names are there at pick 21. Using Fanspeak mock draft, I did a three round mock draft for the Bengals just to focus on the top needs and players that most fans are familiar with.

After seeing so many mocks giving the Bengals players that are not top needs in the first couple rounds, I figured I would go ahead and release one of my own. Focusing on the top needs for Cincinnati, I was able to get two players in the first three rounds for both sides of the ball, considering they have two third-round picks. Cincinnati rarely drafts two back to back players for the same side of the ball, let alone same position, but considering they tried two offensive linemen in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft, I figured I would try it.

Here are my selections for the Bengals for their first four picks:

Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, who the Bengals have shown a lot of interest in leading up to the draft, was taken by the Arizona Cardinals at 15th overall. This seems to be a very common selection in the mock drafts that I have done this last week. Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn was taken by the Baltimore Ravens the very next pick. Both of those linemen were top priorities for me but there was still some great talent left over.

I took UTEP guard Will Hernandez with the 21st overall pick after those first two names were off the board. Hernandez is still a very valuable guard that could fit in the right guard position right away. While he played left guard for his four years at UTEP, I don’t think it would be too big of a transition moving to the other side of the center. Here is what NFL analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about the young guard.

"Four-year starter at left guard and the most highly-decorated offensive linemen in UTEP history. Hernandez possesses a rare combination of power, balance, and athletic ability. He is a plus run blocker with the anchor and footwork to handle himself in pass protection as well. Though he lacks height and length teams would like, it shouldn’t hurt his stock much. Hernandez did nothing but help his cause at the Combine and he has a great shot of going in the first round and becoming a Pro-Bowl caliber guard."

Following the first round selection addressing the offensive line I immediately brought in some more help at center with Arkansas center Frank Ragnow. This is an absolute must in my book for the Bengals as they have next to zero experience at center on the roster. Filling the middle of the line, most direct path to the quarterback, with a top center should be high on their draft board.

Ohio State Billy Price was taken already by the Cleveland Browns with the first pick in the second round leaving just Ragnow and Iowa center James Daniels.

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These are my two favorite centers in this class and while I really like what Daniels could bring to the team, I have higher expectations for Ragnow. Grabbing Hernandez and Ragnow back to back allows the team to address other needs on the defensive side of the ball with their third-round picks. There is still a question with right tackle as Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi have failed to meet expectations, but with the weak tackle class, I didn’t want to bring in another Fisher. Felt it was best to let those two and newly signed Bobby Hart battle it out while the rest of the line is improved.

With my first third-round pick, I was very surprised seeing Stanford safety Justin Reid still sitting there. Immediately I jumped to grab him and bring a versatile playmaking safety to this defense. While Cincinnati doesn’t have a huge hole at safety, Reid would bring a versatility that George Iloka and Shawn Williams don’t have. This would also allow the Bengals to bring in more three safety sets which they have talked about this offseason.

Reid would not only be a help at safety, but he can drop down inside the box and help as a hybrid linebacker. Considering that Vontaze Burfict is facing another four-game suspension and Cincinnati still doesn’t own a linebacker that can be a consistent plus in coverage, this pick made the world of sense to me. If the Bengals can grab Reid in the third round, it’s an absolute steal.

With the final pick of the third round, I had the Bengals grab a linebacker from Iowa named Josey Jewell. Most of the top named linebackers were taken even before my second pick and I felt that offensive line needed to be a major feature in this draft. With the signing of Preston Brown to a one-year deal this offseason, it allows Jewell some time to develop. This is another reason I felt that end of the third round was the best time to address the position. It’s not a position that needs to be filled immediately.

Next: Geoff Hobson has the Bengals taking a receiver?

According to the NFL draft combine, this was a reach to select Jewell this early. I have more faith in the young linebacker and while his grading at the combine and smaller size had him tumbling down draft boards, I see the instincts and high motor in the film that I love. Instincts are hard to instill in a player this late and if he can get a little bigger working with the training staff, I think Jewell could be a solid rotational guy in this defense.