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Dave Lapham predicts Bengals will draft Frank Ragnow in Round 1

The Bengals need help along the offensive line, so taking a guy like Frank Ragnow in Round 1 makes perfect sense.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the NFL Draft beginning Thursday, center remains the favorite for the position addressed by the Bengals with the 21st pick.

The latest example of this is Bengals radio commentator Dave Lapham predicting a center to the team in Round 1. Lapham has become a very reliable predictor for the Bengals in Round 1 of every draft, so when he names a name, Bengals fans need to listen. You can check out the Bengals Booth Podcast below for Lapham’s full analysis on who the Bengals will pick.

This year, Lapham’s pick for the Bengals is Arkansas center Frank Ragnow.

“I think that all things being equal without a slide, as such, at any position, at tackle or safety or whatever, I think they will take a center,” Lapham said. “They did a great job at getting a tackle and not losing any draft currency in so doing. And, putting themselves in position and when you look at it Dan, how many years can you say a real need can be addressed with multiple guys... There are three centers everyone is talking about. Billy Price, Frank Ragnow and James Daniels. How many times can you say we have multiple guys that can fill that need in the same draft. And two come from the Big 10. Billy Price from Ohio State and Daniels from Iowa. Big, physical, rough conference. Ragnow with Arkansas. SEC. Doesn’t get any better than that.”

“My mindset would be, don’t complicate it, stay with the plan, go take the center and I think they’d be happy, it’s almost a toss up between Billy Price and Frank Ragnow. When I do research, deep dive in the center position and talk to guys I can trust around the league, it’s very, very close but some people have Frank Ragnow ahead by a substantial margin of Billy Price. I think they might go Frank Ragnow, and I would. In my evaluation of tape I would go with Frank Ragnow just a bit above Billy Price. I would not be offended whatsoever if Billy Price is the guy they take but I’m leaning more toward Frank Ragnow,” Lapham said.

The only time Lapham got the pick wrong in the last five years was 2015 with Will Fuller, who the Texans drafted a few picks before the Bengals went on the clock, and Lapham did mention William Jackson III that year, who ended up being the pick. There was a wide receiver frenzy that year just ahead of the Bengals’ pick and Cincinnati was left with no worthy receiver to draft in Round 1. Instead, they went with a cornerback who is now the best player at his position on the roster.

Ragnow is regarded as one of the top centers in this year’s NFL Draft. Some even think he’s the best center in this year’s draft. He’s actually got extensive experience at offensive guard and center during his college career, so he’s someone that should find a role with the Bengals as soon as Game 1 of his rookie season.

As a sophomore in 2015, Ragnow started all 13 games at right guard. Then in 2016, he started 12 games at center and one art right guard. As a senior this past season, Ragnow started every game at center and was Pro Football Focus’ top FBS offensive lineman with a 93.7 overall grade.

That’s got him in contention to be the Bengals’ pick at 21, though it’s not out of the question he hears his name called before then. There are plenty of teams ahead of the Bengals that could use a lineman, and it’s become a near-lock that Ragnow is going sometime in Round 1.

Saying this, there are other centers the Bengals appear to be interested in for Round 1, including Ohio State’s Price and Iowa’s Daniels. Dan Hoard, who did the prediction podcast with Lapham actually is predicting Price as the Bengals’ pick. So, it’s safe to say it could be either, but Lapham’s pick is what we’re all really interested in the most.

Lapham also said that if he were available, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey would be his pick for the Bengals. And the Bengals very well may draft him if he’s available. He’s largely considered the best tackle in the draft and isn’t expected to make it to pick No. 21.

“If he sled I don’t think they can pass up on McGlinchey, but I don’t think he’s going to slide,” Lapham said.

As for Hoard, he would pick Rashaan Evans for the Bengals. Hoard believes Evans fits what the Bengals look for in a linebacker and we all know the Bengals love Alabama prospects. “I think you would be taking a guy the Steelers are hoping is still there,” Hoard said of Evans.

The final point of discussion discussed among Lapham and Hoard was their best case scenario for the Bengals. For Lapham, it was Derwin James, an expected top 20 pick who isn’t likely to be available at pick No. 21. But, crazy things ALWAYS happen in the draft, and maybe the Florida State defensive back will make it to the Bengals. Lapham also says he could see the Bengals doubling up at positions so they get two offensive linemen, two safeties, two linebackers and hope that they hit on at least one player at each position.

For Hoard, his best case scenario for the Bengals is Baker Mayfield, the controversial quarterback out of Oklahoma and Joe Mixon’s former teammate. Hoard hopes the Browns don’t take him because he feels confident Mayfield is the “closest thing to a sure thing.” Mayfield is a near lock to be taken far before pick No. 21, but this isn’t a realistic pick, it’s the dream pick.

What do you think of the dream picks and expected picks from Lapham and Hoard?