The Cincinnati Bengals have several pressing needs they must address this offseason, most likely being in the 2018 NFL Draft.
There is where the Bengals will likely choose to upgrade their porous offensive line, ideally with the No. 12 pick. In the latest SB Nation mock draft, they went two full rounds with their latest projection.
It features a familiar name landing at No. 12 in Texas Longhorns tackle Connor Williams.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
In this mock draft, each of the last five picks would be fits for Cincinnati. If the draft really played out in this fashion, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Bengals move back. But if they held at No. 12, taking the top available offensive lineman is the most viable outcome.
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Williams was widely regarded as a top-10 prospect that could go in the top five. However, a rough start followed by a knee injury killed any hope of that, but he’s still very much in the conversation for a top-15 selection.
For what it’s worth, this projection has Oklahoma Sooners tackle going No. 7 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey goes No. 18 to the Seattle Seahawks.
As of now, I’d say the likeliest scenario is Cincinnati taking one of those three tackles at No. 12.
In the second round of this projection, the Bengals upgrade their linebacker unit with another Texas star in linebacker Malik Jefferson. The three-year start was among the Big 12’s best defenders by his junior season, finishing with 110 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. He’s a great pass-rusher that could give the Bengals’ linebackers an added dimension in that regard.
Paul Guenther would rarely have success blitzing his linebackers on the seldom occasions he would, but perhaps new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin would better utilize this.
Jefferson would be a nice upgrade at linebacker for the Bengals, as this has become a major position of weakness in recent years. Outside of Vontaze Burfict, who routinely misses games due to injury or suspension, this position needs a major boost this offseason, and Jefferson could provide it.
Would you be happy with this two-round projection for the Bengals?