With April now here, it won’t be long until the NFL Draft kicks off.
It’s been a rough offseason overall for the Bengals, who will have several big needs that could be addressed with the No. 9 pick. You could argue offensive tackle is the biggest need, but is there a tackle worth taking that high?
The latest mock from R.J. White at CBS Sports makes that case. It has Utah’s Garett Bolles being Cincinnati’s first pick.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Top needs: LT, DT, DE, G
Garett Bolles, OT, Utah: The Bengals could go in several directions here, but losing their two best linemen this offseason makes improving the offensive line critical to returning to playoff contention in 2017. Nothing Cedric Ogbuehi did last season should instill confidence that he can man the left side of the line, so it makes sense for the Bengals to pick up Bolles, a fast riser who dominated the combine and reinforced his stock during Utah’s pro day. Bolles has a rocky past but put in the work to develop into a first-round talent.
Bolles is a 6’5”, 297-pound tackle who is regarded as one of, if not the best tackle in this draft. However, Bolles isn’t someone that most experts consider a top-10 pick, and it doesn’t help that he played just one full year of major college football after spending three years at Snow Junior College. He burst onto the scene this past season and did so well that he was able to declare for the draft.
The Bengals have shown they’ll reach for a lineman if they like him enough. Perhaps they’ll take Bolles if they’re not confident Cedric Ogbuehi and/or Jake Fisher are the long-term answer at offensive tackle. Speaking of, Bengals fans probably won’t like the NFL comparison that Lance Zierlein gave Bolles:
SOURCES TELL US: "Most athletic offensive lineman I've done since I took over this area of the country. He's also mean on the field, which you love. I'm projecting him to get stronger once he locks into an NFL strength-and-conditioning program. He's underdeveloped right now. What you see isn't what you are going to ultimately get, in my opinion." -- West area scout for NFC team
NFL COMPARISON: Cedric Ogbuehi
Elsewhere, the latest mock draft from SB Nation has a familiar name landing in Cincinnati at No. 9 in the form of Corey Davis.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
At this point I’ve cycled through Davis, John Ross of Washington, and Mike Williams of Clemson for the Bengals. They need a foil for A.J. Green, and Davis provides more of an all-around threat than Ross or Williams.
I doubt the Bengals are going to spend the No. 9 pick on a wide receiver, but nothing would really be a surprise at this point. Receiver isn’t a big need, but the Bengals have had lesser needs in the past and still spent first-round picks on those areas.
There’s a lot of debate as to whether Davis is worth a top-10 pick, but you can’t fault the Bengals for taking him if they feel the offense needs another play-maker.
Which of these mock selections do you like more for Cincinnati?