A lot of attention is being paid to what the Bengals will do about their offensive tackle situation this offseason.
With the futures of Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher up in the air there is good reason for concern over that position. However, if the Bengals gloss over how bad their interior offensive linemen were (aside from Clint Boling) then we could have similar results to last season.
Players like T.J. Johnson, Russell Bodine and Trey Hopkins just didn’t cut it inside consistently enough for their jobs to be considered safe or in Bodine’s case re-signed. The top end of this interior lineman draft is fairly deep.
Here is Mike Mayock’s take on how the top 5 interior linemen rank.
1). Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame
It doesn’t look like Nelson will be there at 12 for the Bengals, and even if he is there is still going to have to be a discussion on whether the team should still take an offensive tackle. It would probably depend on what the Bengals do in free agency.
Either way Nelson is by far the best offensive linemen in this class. He is a powerful run blocker, and was the biggest reason for Notre Dame’s success running the ball last season. He is also a great leader who is capable of leading a group of offensive linemen, which is something the Bengals could also use.
If he somehow falls to 12 the Bengals should just take him and be happy with having taken the best offensive linemen that they could have.
2). Isaiah Wynn, Guard/Center, Georgia
Wynn is an interesting prospect because he has some experience all along the offensive line, and the ability to play most of those positions in the NFL despite only being 6’2. His fate obviously is meant for the interior of the offensive line in the NFL, and where he ends up as a guard or center could be based on what the team needs.
Wynn has great athleticism and ability to maintain blocks that will translate pretty well to the NFL. He could very well be there for the Bengals in round two, and he could end up being quite the addition to the middle of the offensive line.
3). James Daniels, Center, Iowa
Daniels is a lighter center, and if his length doesn’t measure correctly then he could end up dropping far enough to be a late second day pick. He is sneaky strong though, and he still has plenty of room to get stronger. His quickness is what wins him most battles as he gets great positioning early on in the play.
The Bengals may address a different need in round two, and if Daniels falls to the third round, then the Bengals could end up with a quality starter for years to come. It will be interesting to see how an offensive line coach like Frank Pollack would use him early though as Daniels is viewed more as a zone blocking center.
4). Will Hernandez, Guard, UTEP
The first and one of only knocks on Hernandez is his size. He is 6’2, but he more than makes up with that by using his strength and leverage to his advantage. He is also a very good pass protector. There isn’t much else to say about Hernandez other than he is pretty much what you want from a guard prospect in the NFL.
He has worked on showing his versatility by playing at multiple positions along the offensive line at the Senior Bowl. He is still most likely going to be a guard when it is all said and done, which is nothing to be disappointed about.
5). Billy Price, Center, Ohio State
There are probably only two ways the Bengals end up with Price. Either they trade back in round one or by some miracle Price falls to the Bengals in round two. Either way he would be an instant upgrade over what we have seen from Bodine the last few seasons. Although Mayock’s ranking may give a slight glimmer of hope to Price falling into the second round.
Price has Bodine’s power that made him so appealing to the Bengals while also being pretty technically sound. He even started by playing at guard for Ohio State. One concern with him is his tendency to attack defensive linemen, and then he gets set up to be beat. That seems like an easy fix with coaching though.