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Bengals mock draft: 7 rounder from B/R adds talent but leaves plenty of holes

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The Bengals address some areas of need later than they should while picking based on value in this recent mock draft.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mock draft season is heating up and Bleacher Report’s draft expert, Matt Miller has put out several seven-round mocks to show which players are rising or falling, and what teams may look to do to fill their needs. I will try to refrain from criticizing him too hard, because doing a seven round mock isn’t easy, and you are bound to make a few fan bases upset. With that in mind, let’s take a look at his most recent breakdown for the Bengals’ first round pick in a seven-round mock draft.

It starts out with Longhorns tackle Connor Williams.

Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Is he a guard or a tackle? That’s the biggest question surrounding Texas’ Connor Williams. Personally, I view him as a tackle. His 33-inch arms are long enough, and his quickness and athleticism allow him to cut off the corner without needing excellent arm length. One thing Williams has to improve is his timing on punches, but he has the big hands to control pass-rushers on the corner.

Should the Cincinnati Bengals disagree and view Williams as a guard, that’s OK; they need one of those too. This is an offensive line in need of a makeover. Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher didn’t take the expected next steps in their sophomore seasons, and the loss of free-agent guard Kevin Zeitler last year set everyone back.

With pick No. 12 the Bengals are in a prime position to get a top-tier offensive lineman in Williams.

This pick is pretty good when you consider the context. There are no trades in this mock, and unless the Bengals were going to take defensive tackle Vita Vea or safety Derwin James then Williams is the next best option. The linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds both went in the top 10 and guard Quenton Nelson went second overall.

Williams could probably come in an instantly give a boost to either the guard or tackle position. He was injured for most of last season, but he ended up returning before the season was over, so we aren’t dealing with a Cedric Ogbuehi situation where he entered the NFL injured and missed most of his rookie season. Williams needs to get stronger, but Bengals new offensive line coach Frank Pollack will be able to help with that. If he fully recovers his quickness that he didn’t have after returning from his injury last season, then we shouldn’t have much to worry about. If he has lost that then he could always kick inside. He did record a 5.05 second 40-yard time at the combine, which was pretty impressive.

My issue with this draft really is just the rest of it. Here are the rest of the 10 picks the Bengals made in Miller’s mock

Matt Miller’s 7 round mock draft

Round Player Position College
Round Player Position College
1 Connor Williams OT Texas
2 Justin Reid S Stanford
3 Chad Thomas Edge Miami
3 Josey Jewell LB Iowa
4 Mike White QB Western Kentucky
5 Taylor Hearn OG Clemson
5 Tre'Quan Smith WR UCF
6 Isaac Yiadom CB Boston College
7 Jeremy Reaves CB South Alabama
7 Parris Bennett LB Syracuse
7 Jake Bennett OC Colorado State

To be fair, the Bengals missed out on a run of interior offensive linemen late in the first round of this mock. The running theme of the Bengals’ picks seems to be that there was a run of players the Bengals would’ve loved to fall to them. They end up with talented players in the first three rounds. What will make or break the draft is whether the linebacker from Iowa, Josey Jewell, can become the missing piece at the position for the Bengals. He won’t wow you athletically, but he has shown enough to get by in the NFL. His instincts are probably his best trait, but he lacks the size you want to see in a linebacker as he only measured out to be 6’1 at the Combine. He was one of the biggest losers at the combine. Some analysts feels he will be best suited for a 3-4 defense as well, which makes this a questionable fit for the Bengals at best.

Justin Reid, the safety out of Stanford, is a very talented player, but the Bengals have George Iloka and Shawn Williams locked up until after the 2020 season. This means Reid would play a supporting role for two years, and even possibly longer if the two starting safeties get extended again. I do like Reid as a player, and the Bengals’ new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin could possibly get him on the field during obvious passing situations in more of a linebacker type role.

I really just don’t get the Chad Thomas pick. the Bengals are already deep at pass rusher, unless they lose out on re-signing Chris Smith. It is also frustrating the Bengals couldn’t address the center position until the seventh round. Again it is more of who was available at the time, but that is a huge loss for this team. The Mike White pick also won’t excite anyone. He has good size and a big arm, but he struggles recognizing pressure and I’m not sure that is the guy you want as a backup for this team.

Tre’Quan Smith is actually a great value pick. He has a very good catching radius and speed. He may need sometime to really clean up his technique, but he could be a guy who forces Brandon LaFell or Cody Core off the roster altogether. There also isn’t much to be said about taking two corners in the sixth and seventh round. The odds those guys even make the team are slim.

If this mock draft does anything, it shows why the Bengals shouldn’t be afraid to move up and get a guy they like. Most of the players late in the draft are going to struggle to even make the team next season as the Bengals again have 11 draft picks.