However, Brown had one of the all-time worst NFL Combines, and now it is being questioned if he is even a first round pick. This catastrophic fall has left a huge hole in most mock drafts, but SB Nation has an interesting take on who will fill that hole for the Bengals.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Cincinnati’s pick has often been reserved for Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown, but the offensive tackle had arguably a worse combine than anyone. If Smith is still there at No. 12, he would be an easy pick for Cincinnati. Smith can come up and attack the run and drop in coverage against tight ends. He’s not a great pass rusher but has few flaws otherwise.
Smith would be a dream come true for new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin. The biggest problem the Bengals have defensively is at the linebacker position, and Smith has all the instincts and ability to come in and fix the issues the Bengals have been having at that position. He can help in coverage, which most teams attack the Bengals with their tight ends or running backs, and he is fast enough to get out on the edge to prevent runs from breaking for huge gains. He is an instant fix, and he makes this defense a huge strength for this team.
Some may be disappointed the team didn’t take an offensive tackle, but the Combine showed us that is a deeper position in this year’s draft than we may have thought. The difference between the top guy and the next five or six isn’t enough to warrant passing on a guy like Smith.
The Bengals are in a nice spot where they can hopefully wait for a talented guy like Smith to fall to them. Other players who could fall include the guard from Notre Dame, Quenton Nelson, although his chances are slim given he is the best offensive linemen in the draft. Still as a guard he isn’t as highly valued as tackles are.
Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker from Virginia Tech, could also fall if a team decides they like Smith over him. The Bengals actually passed on Vita Vea, the defensive tackle from Washington, in this particular draft, but he would be another name that could be called by the Bengals. Lastly for all you quarterback hopefuls, Lamar Jackson went at pick 11 leaving only Josh Allen.
Of course the Bengals could always take a guy like Connor Williams from Texas or Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame to help protect Andy Dalton, but the way the Bengals have approached these last few drafts leads me to believe they will end up making a value pick in the form of one of the aforementioned players.
Ending up with any of these players should create a huge impact for the Bengals going into the 2018 season.