Now that the Bengals have fallen to 3-6, their hopes for this season are fading fast. It is time to start keeping our peripheral vision on the draft.
Currently the Bengals own the fifth pick next year. That has plenty of time to change over the next few weeks with the Bengals playing against two similarly bad teams. Odds are if the Bengals keep playing the way they have been, they will be selecting in the top 10 of the draft again this season. Hopefully, there will be a new head coach making the picks.
SB Nation recently released a new 2018 mock draft, and they went the route most Bengals fans would hope and expect:
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Bengals tried to fix their offensive line by taking Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first two rounds in 2015. It’s just not working. Williams has been out since September with a torn meniscus, but he held a first-round grade coming into the season.
The fact the Bengals would be choosing a tackle who is coming off a major injury in his final season in college is pretty concerning. It’s also so totally Bengals. The last tackle the Bengals did that with didn’t end up so great (Ogbuehi). Still, Williams is set to make a return to the team before the season is over, and that could really effect where he gets drafted.
Williams gets high praise as a mauler and physical tackle from NFL.com:
Williams is an easy player to evaluate on tape. Great players make the difficult tasks look effortless on the football field. That's him. He's a better player than any of the offensive tackles in the 2017 draft class. He reminds me a lot of Joe Staley coming out of college. Both guys are natural athletes and play with a physical edge.
He is pretty much the opposite of Ogbuehi, who was praised for his athleticism, but needed to put in the work to build up his strength. Provided Williams checks out health wise, he seems like quite the catch for the Bengals at pick No. 5.
Players who were selected after:
- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: Another possibility for the Bengals if they win a few more games and end up a little farther back in the draft order. He returned to Notre Dame this season and has led a very dominant offensive line. He has experience on the right and left sideof the offensive line, so he adds that extra versatility.
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: As far as quarterbacks go, this is the best quarterback left on the board when the Bengals are (hypothetically) picking. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen went in the first three picks. So for you take-a-quarterback-in-the-first-round people, this is looking like the best you’re getting, at this point. Keep in mind a lot (A LOTTTTTT) will change between now and the draft. While Mayfield is an exciting college athlete, I have a hard time seeing him worth a fifth overall pick, or even being selected over one of the two above-mentioned very talented offensive tackles.
- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia: Depending just how far the Bengals fall back in the draft, Smith could be a great pick. If there isn’t a good offensive linemen left, linebacker may be the next biggest need. This team has struggled year in and year out with covering tight ends and running backs out of the back field. Smith brings some serious athleticism to that unit. A new head coach may also be looking to move on from Vontaze Burfict.