It is officially mock draft season for everyone aside from the eight teams still left playing for the Super Bowl.
Now that most of the draft order is set, we can really get an idea of what college players will go to what NFL franchises. SB Nation released their most up to date mock draft, and they went with the obviously correct answer with who the Bengals should select with the 12th overall selection:
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Bengals have failed to fix their offensive line after using high picks on Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi . That could leave them looking at McGlinchey in the first round of the draft. He has experience at both left and right tackle, and would help upgrade the team’s pass blocking. Ohio State offensive lineman Billy Price could also be considered here to be the team’s new starting center.
This seems right on track for what the Bengals should be looking to do in the draft. At this point their two biggest needs seem to be the tackle position and getting more athletic at linebacker.
Picking at 12 could leave the Bengals in the perfect position to pick up McGlinchey, who is considered to be one of the top three tackles coming into the draft. He was apart of a dominant Notre Dame offensive line this season. He has athleticism, and from a technique standpoint, he is ready for the NFL. His experience at right and left tackle would also be very appealing to the Bengals who really need help on both sides of the offensive line.
The Bengals have been helped by all the quarterbacks declaring their eligibility for the draft. In this mock draft four quarterbacks went in the top six picks. This helped push the top talent of the draft down, and the Bengals ended up walking away with a quality starter.
What is interesting is the Bengals selected McGlinchey before Connor Williams and Orlando Brown who went 15th and 16th respectively. This goes against a lot of rankings during the season that had Williams as the top tackle. Brown has also been a late riser, but his upside has been driving him up mock draft boards quickly. McGlinchey seems like the safest pick of all of them considering Williams is coming off of an injury, and the Bengals failed to do anything with Oqbuehi’s potential. There is a lot left to the evaluation process, so by the end of it McGlinchey could very well be the top tackle taken.
In the previous mock draft from SB Nation the Bengals selected the linebacker from Georgia Roquan Smith with the eighth overall selection. He would be a tremendous addition next to Vontaze Burfict, and a nice new weapon for whoever takes over the defensive coordinator spot. However, he was selected by the Bears with the eighth overall pick in this mock draft. That is one of the downsides to ending your season strong like the Bengals did.
They also mention Billy Price could end up being the pick, but that also depends what the team decides to do with Russell Bodine who will be a free agent this offseason. The team also got a good look at Christian Westerman at the end of the season at guard, but he has also played quite a bit of center in college as well. Either way the Bengals probably wouldn’t take Price at 12. If they were interested in him they would probably trade back and then select him. He would be a great anchor for this offensive line for years to come though.
It looks like the Bengals could be sitting very pretty with the 12th pick, and Bengals’ fans should be excited about that.