The Cincinnati Bengals are setting up more pre-draft visits before the big weekend and we’re starting to get a decent idea as to one of the spots they’ll be looking at with the No. 21 overall pick.
Interior offensive line is definitely at or near the top of the draft priority list and the Bengals are doing some intensive homework on some of the more high-profile players in this class.
One such visit that is taking place with the Bengals is with Iowa center, James Daniels, per Rob Howe, who is a reporter for Hawkeye Nation.
We had Hawkeye OL James Daniels on @KGYMRADIO last night. He said he has visited Cowboys, Broncos & Panthers so far. Has upcoming visits starting today with Bengals, Eagles, Bears & 49ers. Hear our entire interview here https://t.co/GrxWkWkyWJ— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) April 14, 2018
Daniels is considered one of, if not the top natural center prospect in this year’s class. “The big three” at the position consist of Daniels, Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow and Ohio State’s Billy Price.
While offensive guard is definitely in the discussion at No. 21 overall, Cincinnati doesn’t currently have a settled starter at center now that Russell Bodine bolted to the Bills in free agency. Because of this, the Bengals were in attendance for Ragnow’s pro day and met with Price at the NFL Combine, and they are now setting up a visit with Daniels.
The former Iowa standout is coming into the draft after his junior season and boasts some solid college tape. He also has a bit of that versatility gene that the Bengals covet, as he started two games at left guard for the Hawkeyes.
Watch James Daniels (78) on back to back runs. pic.twitter.com/U1LuwyKq6L— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 24, 2018
James Daniels vs. Illinois/PSU.— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) April 14, 2018
Saw very good hip mobility and hand usage to work underneath, create torque, and drive guys off the ball, or win with quickness to get hips around and reach guys as far as 3T. Quick processor with good AA & use of angles in space. pic.twitter.com/IgeoULyKtZ
Center is where he garnered the most accolades at the collegiate level, though. He started 11 games in 2016 and received third-team All-Big Ten honors, while grabbing another All-Conference honorable mention designation for 2017.
The common consensus is that if the Bengals want Daniels, they’ll need to grab him on the first night. Obviously, wacky things happen in the first round and he could slip further than anticipated, but not many folks believe he’ll be there when the Bengals come on the clock for the second time at pick No. 46 on day two.
As you look back to recent drafts, Cincinnati highly values the players they bring in on visits. Picks and undrafted prospects have been brought into camp after meeting with the Bengals in the pre-draft process with high frequency. Last year, we reported on visits for John Ross, Joe Mixon and Jordan Evans, to name a few.
The Bengals’ coaching staff is a bit more heavily-involved in the scouting process than other clubs because of the team’s smaller-staffed scouting department. While the Bengals are considering many options for Round 1, Daniels looks to be in the mix.