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Alabama OT Cam Robinson meeting with Bengals

The Bengals need help at offensive tackle, but is Cam Robinson worth a top-10 pick?

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After Andrew Whitworth’s shocking departure this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals will have some tough decisions to make along their offensive line.

Does that include taking a tackle as high as the No. 9 pick? As much faith as this team publicly has for Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi, the latter was woefully bad in his only year as a starter, and Fisher did alright, at best, while starting just three games.

Still, both finished low enough in Pro Football Focus’ grading system that they were in the ‘poor’ tier of players, the lowest PFF has. That’s why, as painful as it may be, we shouldn’t be surprised to see the Bengals take a tackle at No. 9, even if it’s a reach.

One such player could be Alabama’s Cam Robinson, so of course the Bengals are meeting with him prior to the NFL Draft.

Robinson was a consensus All-American left tackle as a junior this past year while starting every game at left tackle. He started every game of his career on the blind side, a spot the Bengals have a hole at with Whitworth’s departure.

However, Robinson is a flawed prospect who carries some major character concerns as a result of him being arrested with marijuana and a stolen handgun in his vehicle last year.

There’s not even a consensus feeling among experts that Robinson is an NFL tackle. Some think he’s a guard, though he’ll get a shot at left and possibly right tackle with whatever NFL team drafts him.

Either way, Robinson is not viewed as a prospect worthy of the No. 9 pick. He’s a mid-first rounder, at best, who could easily fall into the 20-30 pick range. That’s why the Bengals should have a contingency plan to trade up in that range to take Robinson if they really want him.

With 11 draft picks, the Bengals have the ammunition to move up from pick No. 41 in the second round and move back in the latter part of Round 1 if Robinson is still there. There’s also the chance Cincinnati moves back from the No. 9 pick to take Robinson in the middle of Round 1, though with 11 picks, it’s hard to see them taking on any more.

Regardless, taking Robinson at No. 9 would be too big of a reach. But the Bengals are smart to at least work him out and get a better feel for him. Maybe he should be a top-10 pick and his workout/interviews help that cause.

I doubt it, but NFL teams have to do their due diligence with anyone in contention for a top-10 pick. I think Robinson ends up being someone the Bengals would only take in the event they don’t like who’s available at pick No. 9 and end up trading down.