Now that the the Super Bowl has been decided, we have officially hit the offseason.
One of the best parts of the offseason is all the mock drafts leading up to the actual thing. The only problem is there can be a ton of these mock drafts running around, and most of the time you just want to know who they have the Bengals taking.
So, here is all the Bengals most recent picks in some of the top mock drafts from around the web.
Letting Andrew Whitworth walk out the door turned out to be a mistake. Who could’ve seen that coming? The Bengals set about rectifying it here by taking one of the top tackles on the board.
If the Bengals want to return to being a playoff team, fixing the offensive line once and for all has to happen. Brown is a mauler of an offensive tackle who makes up for athleticism with his sheer size.
Cincinnati had a disappointing season, and the offensive line was a big reason why. Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher (out for the season with an irregular heartbeat) haven’t played up to their draft potential, and Cincinnati struggled to protect Andy Dalton and run the ball. The Bengals should take the best offensive lineman available at No. 12. If they are comfortable with Williams’ medicals, he’s the most gifted left tackle in this class.
Of course, taking James would be wildly uncharacteristic. They’ve never taken a safety with their first pick and the only first-rounder is Darryl Williams, taken at No. 28 as part of the 1992 draft where the Bengals moved down a spot with Washington to take quarterback David Klingler at No. 6. They drafted Rickey Dixon with the fifth pick in 1988 and he played safety, but he came out of Oklahoma listed as a cornerback.
James did it all in Tallahassee this past season with 72 tackles, five for loss , one sack, two picks, 11 PBUs, three QB hurries and one field goal block. He played only two games in 2016 because of a torn meniscus, but we’re talking about a guy who is going to blow up the NFL scouting combine in three weeks.
So here’s a guy that can cover slot receivers and play the run, plus he’d have two terrific mentors back there in starters George Iloka and Shawn Williams. This guy has all the tools to be groomed as a playmaker.
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line is a nightmare because of some poor draft picks and poor team-planning that allowed solid free agents to leave. Now, as the team transitions and rebuilds again, the focus should be on improving the offensive line play.
Texas left tackle Connor Williams was the best offensive line prospect from this class throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons but took a step back in 2017; partially because of injury and partially because of the worst game of his career in the season opener against Maryland. Evaluating Williams asks the scout to weigh his two seasons prior to this one. If you judge Williams based on traits, he’s still the top tackle in the class.
Neither Cedric Ogbuehi nor Jake Fisher has worked out as a long-term answer at either tackle spot. It’s time for the Bengals to move on from both busts and find a new left tackle for the future.
As you can tell, the expectation is the Bengals will address the offensive line with the No. 12 pick, but then again, at this point last offseason, very few people thought the Bengals would go wide receiver with the No. 9 pick. Linebacker, defensive line and offensive line looked like bigger needs, but the Bengals ultimately took a wide receiver, something Geoff Hobson guessed early in the offseason.
So with Hobson guessing Florida State safety Derwin James, perhaps we should be giving it a little more thought going into the draft.