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NFL mock draft 2018: Mel Kiper sticks with an OT for Bengals in Round 1

Despite the Bengals moving back nine spots in the draft, Mel Kiper still thinks the Bengals will end up with the same offensive tackle.

NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-Kansas State vs UCLA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals made a huge trade for left tackle Cordy Glenn that also moved the team from picking 12th overall to 21st in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. It felt like a whole new world of possibilities opened up for the team there.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, however, disagrees with that. In his most recent mock draft Kiper still has the Bengals selecting the same player he had them taking at 12 in his previous mock draft.

That is UCLA’s Kolton Miller:

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Miller impressed at the combine, running a 4.91 40 and jumping 10-foot-1 in the broad jump. Did I mention he’s 6-foot-8, 309 pounds? The Bengals traded for Cordy Glenn to be their left tackle, as Cedric Ogbuehi struggled in 2017. Miller could compete with Jake Fisher on the right side, giving Cincinnati upgraded depth along the line. The Bengals could also eye a linebacker here with Vontaze Burfict facing a suspension to start the season.

I try to be overly critical of writers’ takes, especially at the national level. They just don’t have the same sort of understanding of what a team needs, because they have to keep up with every team. It isn’t easy.

This is an awful pick, though.

Let’s first stay with the idea that the Bengals will select a tackle here. It would make a little sense. Right now they have players like Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher and Bobby Hart battling for that spot.

They could also view taking a tackle as an insurance policy incase they don’t re-sign any of those players or pick up Ogbuehi’s fifth-year option. The idea of taking Miller there still doesn’t work. The only tackle who has been selected at that point was Mike McGlinchey. That means Connor Williams is still sitting there. I don’t think it is that much of a hot take to say Williams is clearly the better player.

Shifting gears for a second, Kiper doesn’t even note the gaping whole the Bengals have at center now. They are sitting in the perfect position to select whichever center they want. James Daniels or Billy Price would be ideal plug and play type players at the position. I get the value may not be there at 21, but if you are getting a guy who comes in and instantly makes your team better then why mess around?

To be fair to Kiper, he does mention the need at linebacker. Players like Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith and Rashaan Evans were already off the board, so I can’t be too upset.

However, at pick No. 23, Kiper has the Rams taking the Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. It makes far more sense for the Bengals to take a chance on Vander Esch at a position of need than Miller. Miller’s ceiling is as a solid right tackle. Vander Esch could be an every down linebacker.

Miller could be a solid player, but he just doesn’t make any sense at pick 21 in the first round. There are more talented players at positions of need, and there is even a better player at the same position. It seems like Kiper just got lazy on this one. He even had the Giants take Sam Darnold second overall after the Browns took Josh Allen?

Either Kiper is seeing something we all are missing, or he doesn’t have a clue about this draft at all.

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Posted by Cincy Jungle on Wednesday, February 21, 2018