The Bengals are keeping their Round 1 options open, and that includes taking a look at the top offensive tackles in the draft.
After losing Andrew Whitworth this offseason, it’s very likely that another tackle is drafted at some point by the Bengals. It would make sense for the team to wait until Day 3 to select a tackle, but it could come as early as Day 1 if Garett Bolles is someone the Bengals want.
According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, Bolles is visiting the Bengals this weekend, with just less than two weeks until Round 1 of the draft kicks off.
OT Garett Bolles, who is expected to be one of the first two OLs selected in this draft, is visiting the #Bengals today, sources said.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 14, 2017
At 6’5”, 297-pounds, Bolles is regarded as one of, if not the best tackle in this draft. However, Bolles isn’t someone who most experts consider a top-10 pick, and it doesn’t help that he played just one full year of Division I college football after spending three years at Snow Junior College.
Bolles did have a highly impressive 2016 season, earning First-Team All-Pac 12 honors while starting every game at left tackle. He then declared for the draft knowing he would likely be a first-round selection.
The Bengals have shown they’ll reach for a lineman if they like the player enough. Perhaps they’ll take Bolles if they’re not confident Cedric Ogbuehi and/or Jake Fisher are the long-term answers at offensive tackle.
Ironically the NFL comparison that Lance Zierlein gave Bolles is Ogbuehi, which is even more reason to pass on him at No. 9.
In addition to Bolles, another offensive tackle that the Bengals have had a pre-draft visit with is Alabama’s Cam Robinson. The first tackle drafted will almost certainly be Bolles or Robinson, so it looks like Cincinnati is considering both of them for the No. 9 pick.
However, it’s possible the Bengals trade down in the first round, giving them a pick in the teens or early 20s. There’s a decent shot that one, if not both of Robinson and Bolles will still be on the board in the mid to late first round. Then it becomes much more logical to spend a first-round pick on one of them, though it’s still not an ideal scenario with more immediate needs on the team.
Hopefully, these pre-draft visits give the Bengals more reason to not draft them while both Ogbuehi and Fisher are given one more season to show if they can be starting-caliber tackles.