FOX's Brian Billick recently weighed in on the interior offensive linemen heading into this year's NFL draft. The Bengals are in need of a new right guard. They lost Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn in free agency and Bobbie Williams will be 36 years old in September. The team signed guard Travelle Wharton to take over at left guard for the next couple years, but there is still a hole at right guard. Right now the starting job would fall to second-year guard Clint Boling, who started three games in 2011 while Williams was serving a four-game suspension.
Even though drafting a guard or center in the first round of the draft is about the least sexy thing a team can do, we all know the value that a top-tier guard can give a team's offense. With one of this year's top guard prospects at right guard, the Bengals could have one of the better offensive lines since the 2005 season.
Billick knows that a talented guard can make a mediocre tackle look much better, which means a guy like David DeCastro, who Billick believes is an elite-level talent, could make Andre Smith much better than he has been in the past.
Stanford's David DeCastro, 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, may be the most complete player at his position in the draft. Over the past three years, at least one interior lineman has been selected in the top 21 picks (Alex Mack, Mike Iupati, the Pouncey twins, Maurkice and Mike), and DeCastro is likely to be better than all of them. Drawing comparisons to former Pro Bowler Alan Faneca, he has the size and all the tools indicative of a dominating presence in the inside.
DeCastro has been selected by the Bengals multiple times in different mock drafts, as has Cordy Glenn, who has played both guard and tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs. Many believe that the Bengals will take one of these two guys in the first round.
Cordy Glenn from Georgia is likely next on the interior linemen list. Then again, a solid Senior Bowl followed by an excellent combine has many believing that he can be a solid offensive tackle in the NFL. I see him as a first-year starter on the right side, and because of that, I'm evaluating him against the other tackles in the draft. But he certainly could be selected by a team looking to add to its interior.
Either DeCastro or Glenn would be good additions, but the Bengals have never drafted a guard in the first round before. Will they go against the grain in 2012 and add a guard in the first round or will they grab a cornerback and then a running back, safety or the best player available with their other first-round pick, waiting until the second round to grab a guard like Amini Silatolu?