Bengals focus on offensive line in CBS Sports mock draft
The Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line has been hit and miss so far this season. At times, the protection holds up and Joe Burrow is kept upright for the entire game. Other times, however, it’s not good, as Burrow is running for his life constantly.
That’s why it’s never surprising to see a mock draft where the Bengals spend their first-round pick on an offensive lineman. In Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports’ recent mock draft, Cincinnati adds offensive lineman Charles Cross to their roster with the 23rd overall pick.
Here’s what Trapasso had to say about his decision to have Cincy go with the Mississippi State product:
"Cross is young and somewhat raw, but his play this season has led to legitimate first-round consideration. More protection for Joe Burrow."
At this point, the Bengals have to focus on protecting Burrow. They’ve had two offseasons to give him a solid offensive line and that hasn’t exactly happened, unfortunately. They can’t let that happen again this offseason.
Bengals select Charles Cross in recent mock draft
Cross plays left tackle for the Bulldogs and came into his own during the 2020 season. Regarding Cross, Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network writes:
"Alongside his physicality and violence, Cross brings elite athleticism to the position. He’s explosive out of his stance, has exceptional footwork to mirror his opponent, and although not often required in the Bulldogs’ offense, he can rapidly get out to the second level. In addition, his change of direction is excellent, allowing him to recover swiftly when put in a predicament by pass rushers."
The Bengals don’t necessarily need a left tackle due to Jonah Williams playing well at the position. He’ll be entering the fourth year of his rookie deal next year and likely gets his fifth-year option picked up. Even with that being the case, no one would bat an eye if the Bengals took Cross. He could play right tackle if the team isn’t able to re-sign Riley Reiff this offseason.
Cincinnati could also opt to move Cross inside to one of the two guard spots, as they did with Jackson Carman this year. Quinton Spain is set to be a free agent, so if he’s not retained, left guard will be vacant in 2022.
There are plenty of options as to how the Bengals could use Cross but if this ended up being the player they took with their first-round pick, fans would be elated.