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NFL Draft: Small-School Offensive Tackle Prospects

Could the Bengals dip into the FCS and D-II ranks to find a developmental offensive tackle?

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals and offensive line coach Paul Alexander have done yeoman's work when ti comes to developing the big uglies up front.

From Stacy Andrews (4th round), Clint Boling (4th), Anthony Collins (4th), Kyle Cook (undrafted), Trevor Robinson (undrafted), to countless journeyman lineman, the Bengals have been one of the best at maximizing the abilities of their lineman.

But while they have been good at developing lineman that either played for a notable college football program or have prior NFL experience, the Bengals have rarely dipped into the small-school ranks to draft a lineman.

Otis Hudson (Eastern Illinois) is the last small-school prospect they drafted (5th round, 2010). After him, you have to go all the way back to 2005 when they took Adam Keift (5th round, Central Michigan) to find a lineman they drafted that didn't play in a BCS conference.

Needless to say, they don't typically target players who play in the FCS and D-II ranks. That doesn't guarantee they won't this year, and Tony Softli has as god of a feel on small-school prospect as you' find.

Billy Turner out of North Dakota State is his top OT prospect, and he could go as high as the 3rd round:

Turner is athletic and runs extremely well.  I was watching his tape against SIU and the playoff run just last week and he pulls very well, hits his targets, and works hard.  You can tell he has come a long way in two years and did pretty well overall in the postseason.

His junior and senior seasons showed major improvements from early on and he has bloodlines with his dad and brother having played in the NFL.

He should be a 3rd round selection but there are grades all over the board in my opinion as some teams will likely grade him in the 2nd round while others will view him as a 5th round grade.