The Bengals’ season has not gone as well as many hoped it would before the season. The team has failed to be dominant on offense with no receivers other than A.J. Green stepping up. Also, the run game has failed to be established, and Joe Mixon can’t get enough done with this poor offensive line. Speaking of, the offensive line has been just as bad as many people thought it would be and the Bengals still have failed to cover running backs or tight ends in any effective way. It isn’t all bad, as the Bengals’ newly added pass rushers have looked good and so has Mixon in some opportunities. John Ross still has plenty of time to show he was worthy of the pick, and the offensive tackles could theoretically turn it around. However, the Bengals should certainly be looking toward the draft and figuring out the positions they should be targeting. What are those positions as of this point? Let’s take a look...
1. Offensive tackle
Now this one is certainly one that could change before the draft rolls around. Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi are still young players that haven’t been around for the longest time so could still theoretically grow. However, the way they’ve looked so far definitely hasn’t been a good sign for their future development. The upcoming class doesn’t look to be the best class to draft an offensive tackle, but it is certainly a position of high need for the Bengals. Some players they could look at include Connor Williams of Texas and Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame.
Russell Bodine has been with Cincinnati for what seems like forever, and it may finally be time to move on. The starter’s contract runs out after this season, and considering how his play has been throughout his tenure here, it would be a good idea to let him walk and look to the draft for a replacement. Even if he's re-signed, the Bengals need to look at upgrading him this coming draft. Some options include Billy Price of Ohio State and Mason Cole from Michigan.
3. Tight end
Tyler Eifert was a fantastic player in Cincinnati, when he was actually able to play that is. That was less than half of the time. Now after his latest injury and with his impending free agency the Bengals may be looking to replace him. If he is not retained, the Bengals should look to what is shaping up to be an interesting tight end class to draft a long-term solution. Some options include Troy Fumagalli of Wisconsin and Mark Andrews of Oklahoma.
4. Defensive tackle
Geno Atkins is easily one of the best defensive tackles in the league and has been for awhile. However, Atkins will be 30 going into next season, and his contract will run out after the 2018 season. I am not saying the Bengals should be drafting his replacement, but also none of the defensive tackles the Bengals have drafted other than Atkins have really worked out. Glasgow has had a solid start to the season, but there are some great looking defensive tackles coming out in next year’s draft, and the Bengals should look at the available players. Some of the players I’m talking about are Christian Wilkins of Clemson and Taven Bryan of Florida.
I know some will definitely disagree with this one, wanting to give Andy Dalton a chance to prove himself once again after the offensive line is upgraded. However, to me, I ideally don’t think this team will be picking top 10 many times, like they may be this coming draft, so if the team has what they believe is a chance to upgrade the most important position, they should do it. I haven’t completely broken down the draft prospects at quarterback for the coming draft, but there are certainly some interesting players coming out this year. If the Bengals believe one of the quarterbacks coming out will be an upgrade, they have to take the chance. Some interesting players at the position are Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Sam Darnold of USC.