Matt Miller is Bleacher Report’s resident draft expert and he recently put together a seven round mock draft to celebrate the official beginning of mock draft season. It is always interesting to see seven round mock drafts.
It is important to note that the accuracy of these things aren’t great. These are for people who like to get the idea of a team’s needs or player’s value at this point during the offseason. Also, compensatory picks haven’t been dished out yet, so the Bengals could end up with a few more players if they choose.
Here is who Miller has the Bengals taking in the first round.
OT Connor Williams, Texas
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.
The Bengals could roll out an athletic line with Williams at left tackle, Cedric Ogbuehi on the right side and Jake Fisher at center next season in an instant upgrade from the 2017 look.
You can put any tackle in the Bengals’ slot at 12 in most mock drafts and not cause a big stir. It is a matter of who gets placed there between Williams, Orlando Brown and Mike McGlinchey. We haven’t seen Williams listed as the top tackle for a minute though. That could be a reactionary thing as Miller says. He was a very good tackle in the prior two seasons, but can he return to that level?
The weirdest thing about Miller’s breakdown is his suggestion to play Fisher as a center. The Bengals have tried Fisher at that spot during offseason, but he has never really appeared in a game as a center. Russell Bodine is a free agent, but unfortunately the Bengals have expressed interest in bringing him back.
As far as the rest of Miller’s mock draft, here is the over view of all the players he had the Bengals take:
Matt Miller’s mock draft
|1||Connor Williams||Offensive Tackle||Texas|
|2||Derrick Nnadi||Defensive Line||Florida State|
|3||Marquis Haynes||Linebacker||Ole Miss|
|4||Terrell Edmunds||Safety||Virginia Tech|
|7||Equanimeous Brown||Receiver||Notre Dame|
The interesting thing here is the lack of urgency to bring in more than just one offensive linemen. The Bengals offensive line was downright awful last season, and unless Miller assume Cincinnati brings in more players through free agency, we could be in for another long season protecting Andy Dalton.
However, drafting Derrick Nnadi helps bring some run stopping depth to a defensive line that could use it. Nnadi could be added to the rotation of Geno Atkins, Andrew Billings and Ryan Glasgow. That would make a very formidable interior defensive line for years to come.
Two receivers is troubling unless the team is willing to part ways with Brandon LaFell, Cody Core, Tyler Boyd or Alex Erickson. The Bengals just drafted two receivers last season, so the receiving room would be pretty full next to A.J. Green, although Equanimeous Brown appears to be a fairly nice steal after being held back by horrendous quarterback play last season.
Trey Quinn was also wildly productive with over 100 catches last season, but the idea the Bengals need to add to their receiving corps that much through the draft is a little much. Hopefully they grab a competent receiver through free agency to replace LaFell.
I don’t really get the Marquis Haynes pick. He is a pure pass rusher who most project as a 3-4 pass rusher. The Bengals spent all of last offseason rebuilding their pass rush, and they did a fine job of it. Of course I’m assuming they re-sign Chris Smith to keep their depth at the position. Still this pick means the Bengals didn’t address their line backer need at all during the draft. Similar to how they ignored their offensive tackle problem last season.
You can’t hate adding safety depth in the fourth round with Terrell Edmunds, even if it wasn’t the Edmunds brother some fans wanted. Also addressing their quarterback depth in the sixth round is just another value pick. It looks even better if the Bengals are actually able to move AJ McCarron.
Overall I don’t think this draft would inspire much hope for next season the way the 2017 draft did. Based on this alone the Bengals would still have far too many holes going into the season.