The Cincinnati Bengals addressed their biggest need in this year’s draft by selecting Ohio State center Billy Price.
The Cincinnati Bengals are making it a point to address the offensive line this offseason after a disastrous 2017 showing. In fact, the Bengals offensive line as a unit ranked 28th according to Pro Football Focus giving up 158 total pressures. This wasn’t just pass protection that they were limited but in the run game as well.
During the 2017 season, the Bengals had ten different offensive linemen play at least 80 snaps throughout the season. The loss of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler was a tremendous one and one Cincinnati might be regretting following this last season. Outside of left guard Clint Boling last season, this entire offensive line looked easily replaceable.
Cincinnati started by bringing in former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack to help develop their offensive linemen. If you know anything about the Cowboys, it’s probably about their elite offensive line over the years and much of that is due to the development coming from Pollack. This will be the first big move by the Bengals but not the only one.
The Bengals also made a trade with the Buffalo Bills just before free agency opened acquiring starting left tackle Cordy Glenn. The teams exchanged first round picks and a couple later round picks as well. Cincinnati moved back nine spots in the first round to acquire one of the best-left tackles arguably in the league and move up from the sixth to the fifth round later in the draft.
Left tackle was clearly the biggest need for the Bengals this offseason and they were able to address it immediately. This allowed the team to look at interior offensive linemen in the draft where the class was deeper. There were few tackles in this draft worth considering, especially for the left side, so finding their tackle that’s already proven in the league was great work.
During free agency, Cincinnati center Russell Bodine of the last four years decided to leave for the Buffalo Bills on a two-year deal. Bodine was not happy with the offer made by the Bengals and decided to take his chances with the Bills. This left a big hole in the middle wide open to be filled for Cincinnati. However, even if Bodine would have stayed, a center would have been a priority in this draft.
By drafting Ohio State center Billy Price, the Bengals have addressed their biggest need since trading for Glenn. Cincinnati was also able to do so by drafting Price within the state. Price who suffered an injury at the combine with a pectoral tear should be good to go come training camp. Probably the strongest center in the draft and Price should be ready to take on the bigger competition at the NFL level.
Price has the explosiveness and strength to start immediately in the NFL and compete with the bigger competition. He will still need some development with his impatience at moving to the next block and leading with his head. These are tactics top NFL linemen will be able to take advantage of. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack should be able to work him into a solid starting center quickly.