Pro Football Focus has been going team by team, making state of the franchise videos for each. They recently released their state of the franchise for the Bengals ahead of the NFL Draft.
The most obvious takeaway is just how high PFF is on William Jackson. Sam Monson talks about just how incredible a season he had, and it really gets you excited about what he can do in a bigger role during a full season.
Jackson introduced himself to the NFL when he returned an Aaron Rodger’s interception for a touchdown. Even after that, he played sparingly due to the Bengals valuing Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick over him on the perimeter. He started to get rotated in more, and when an injury to Jones forced Jackson into the starting lineup he didn’t let the team down.
The most impressive part of his season was shutting down Antonio Brown twice. Not only did he cover him well, but there were a few plays when Ben Roethlisberger got the ball into Brown’s hands only for Jackson to separate the ball from him just in time. There is no better way to show you belong then by shutting down arguably one of the best receivers in the game today.
Monson and Steve Palazzolo also offered up some names that they think could be valuable additions via the draft for the Bengals. Monson describes a dream scenario where the Bengals draft the guard Isaiah Wynn in the first. Then they follow that pick up by bringing in Frank Ragnow in the second. Ragnow is a center who Monson said he would draft at 21, which is certainly in play for the Bengals.
I can’t imagine a better scenario than adding those two players in the first two rounds. Each have shown they can produce early by what they have done in college. These aren’t project guys you draft based on potential. These are guys who need some polishing up, but the foundation of a starting offensive linemen is there. Subbing in Mike McGlinchey for Wynn in Round 1 would also be a huge win.
Wynn is a huge upgrade over Trey Hopkins who didn’t impress at right guard last season, and Ragnow is pretty much what the Bengals were hoping Russell Bodine would be. He is a physical presence who just dominates his competition from start to finish. Ragnow was the top rated center the past two years for PPF. Wynn also looked good in PFF rankings last year. He finished with a 98.7 in pass blocking and 88.6 in run blocking. If he was a few inches taller he would probably be in the running for the top tackle prospect in this draft.
If the Bengals could pull that off they would be left to worry about who would emerge as the right tackle out of the competition between Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi and Bobby Hart. Still, having four of your five offensive line spots taken care of is better than most teams in the NFL now-a-days. They wouldn’t be the sexiest picks, but they would have an early and large impact on the Bengals in 2018.