It took nearly six rounds (the Bengals’ compensatory fifth round pick), but the Bengals finally got an offensive lineman on Day 3 of the draft, which was easily one of the team’s biggest needs this offseason. Dielman was a full-time center and team captain for the Utes in 2016 after starting all 26 games in 2014 and 2015 at the right tackle spot.
However, Dielman only appeared in five games this past season before suffering a lower leg injury. The injury, which we now know was to his foot, was enough to end his season and help lead to him falling into Round before Cincinnati ended his slide. Dielman is still not practicing as his foot injury heals.
It’s unclear what position he’ll play in Cincinnati, but the kind of versatility he offers something the Bengals love having. It’s unlikely Dielman has a shot at Russell Bodine’s starting center spot this year, but Bodine hits free agency in 2018. Having Dielman can be insurance in case Bodine goes elsewhere while also giving Cincinnati depth across the offensive line in 2017.
CBS Sports actually had Dielman rated 136th overall in this draft in addition to being the 11th-best offensive tackle prospect. NFL.com gave him a Round 7/priority free agent grade and thinks he’ll be a center.
At the end of the day, I’m not betting against Paul Alexander’s ability to develop lineman from Rounds 4-7 into quality NFL starters. Alexander also works well with guys who played multiple spots in college, so Dielman makes a lot of sense for the Bengals.
The Bengals have one draft pick still unsigned, defensive end Jordan Willis (third round; Kansas State).