To say the Bengals’ offensive line was bad last year, is like saying the sun is warm. It’s accurate, but quite the understatement. With the NFL Draft nearly here, it’s almost certain that the Bengals will seek to remedy this deficiency with at least one, if not more, offensive linemen. And it’s almost certain that their first offensive lineman will be selected sooner than later in the draft.
But with so many names of offensive linemen thrown around over the past few months, how is a Bengals fan supposed to remember Mike Mcglinchey from Billy Price, or Frank Ragnow?
The following tables below are an attempt to help a Bengals fan with the offensive linemen that the team may likely be drafting in round one, and/or round two this week.
I’ve summarized the top offensive linemen at the center, guard, and tackle positions, and provided a composite grade, based on ranking from sites like the NFL, CBS Sports, and others. I’ve also provided a brief summary of each player to help you remember who is who.
NFL Draft: Centers
|OL||Martinas Rankin||Miss St||6-5||305||-||-||25||-||5.8|
|G/C||Tony Adams||NC State||6-2||322||-||-||-||-||5.5|
James Daniels: Even though Daniels wasn’t voted as the top center in his own conference last year (Billy Price won that honor), there are many who consider him the top center in the NFL draft. He’s got quickness and moves well for a center. He’s flexible with great balance and can get to the second level easily. He’s very athletic for a lineman and does everything well. The only knock on him is that he doesn’t possess the ideal mass to anchor, and his power is only good but not elite.
Billy Price: Price pretty much checks off everything you want from an elite center prospect. He’s strong, explosive, quick, has great core strength, holds up vs bigger defenders, has the flexibility to bend, and is an intelligent leader of the offensive line. He’s also a tough dude who has the durability to record 55 consecutive starts (although he’s currently injured). He also brings versatility, having played guard. He can get caught playing too impatiently, leaning and losing his balance, which can get him beat by defenders.
Frank Ragnow: Daniels and Price are such quick, explosive athletes, while Ragnow is only an average athlete. But that’s not a knock on Ragnow. He’s a quality prospect at center and has good size and power to drive blocks. He’s got the quickness and ability to bend, and he’s tough and finishes blocks. He’s a team leader with versatility to play guard. If you didn’t see, he’s Dave Lapham’s prediction for the Bengals’ first pick.
NFL Draft: Guards
|OG||Martinas Rankin||Miss St||6-5||305||-||-||25||-||5.8|
|OG||Wyatt Teller||V Tech||6-4||301||-||5.24||30||29||5.6|
|OG||Tony Adams||NC St||6-2||322||-||-||-||-||5.5|
Quenton Nelson: The last time a guard received this much hype was David DeCastro – the generational, can’t miss prospect who would certainly be gone in the top 10 picks. In the 2012 draft, there were five edge rushers, four quarterbacks, and three wide receivers with enough hype to push him down into the 20’s. With so few high end players at these positions in this year’s draft, Nelson is likely gone well before the Bengals pick.
Will Hernandez: if you miss out on Nelson, Hernandez is the consolation prize. He’s a tough, strong, quick guard with great game tape. The biggest knock on his game is his height. Like Isiah Wynn (more on him below), he’s being dropped for being good, but at the wrong size. He stands 6’2” in a league when teams want their guards to be an inch taller, and his 32” arms concern some evaluators, even though they are only about 1/4“ shorter than the afore mentioned DeCastro’s arms.
Braden Smith: After watching him, I’m actually surprised this guy doesn’t get more press. He’s got good push as a run blocker and uses his size & strength to stone wall defenders as a pass blocker. He is not the fastest guy pulling or getting to the second level, and his reactive speed isn’t top-notch. But that’s why this guy plays guard, and he does it better than you’d think for the lack of press that he seems to get.
Martinas Rankin: Like Corbett, Rankin is a guy who has played tackle throughout his career, but is being drafted to move to a new position at guard (or center). His composite predraft grade puts him right where Christian Westerman was rated in 2016.
Austin Corbett: Corbett is a late riser in the draft process, as a player who went from walk-on for the Nevada Wolfpack to a potential draftee. He’s got that dreaded lack of “core strength” label, which has plagued Cedric Ogbuehi throughout his career. He’s also played tackle in his college career, but will be drafted as a guard (or center) in the NFL. One has to hope that he can transition to a position he’s never played before. He will probably be drafted on day two based on his post-season performances he’s displayed for scouts. The Bengals have shown some interest in him.
NFL Draft: Offensive tackles
|OT||Chukwuma Okorafor||W Mich||6-6||330||5.31||19||23.5||5.9|
|OT||Will Richardson||NC St||6-6||304||35.3||5.26||31.5||5.6|
Isiah Wynn: When you watch the game videos of the offensive tackles Isiah Wynn is one who stands out as the clear leader in the 2018 draft class. He’s athletic, has good technique, and doesn’t let the top-level competition he faces in the SEC get past him. Putting that all together one would expect him to be a top 10 pick and future left tackle, right? Wrong.
The NFL has one of those signs that says “you must be this tall to play this position”, and sadly for Wynn, he wasn’t born with the requisite 6’5” minimum height that NFL teams want from their tackles. Linemen are expected to meet certain height requirements to be able to play their position. For example it’s why undersized linemen like Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald will never make it as starters in the NFL. Um, never mind.
The biggest concern with height is arm length, since guys who are shorter generally have shorter arms. Longer arms help a lineman hold a defender at bay and stop him from getting past. Wynn’s arms measured at 33.4” which is actually longer than Connor Williams’ arm length of 33.0”, and just over 1/2” shorter than the tall Kolton Miller’s arm length. Both Williams and Miller are being discussed as possible first round tackles. While the talk around Wynn is the necessary move inside.
Mike Mcglinchey: When the Bengals passed on future All Pro guard David DeCastro for guard Kevin Zeitler, the various scouting reports on Zeitler were that he was a solid, plug and play guy who would have a long, productive career, but would never be a Pro Bowl player. That has actually played out, and is a good description of Mike Mcglinchey, too. He’s a high floor, low ceiling guy you can insert into the Bengals offensive line and instantly makes them better. He’s likely to be the first tackle selected this year and the Bengals are very interested in him.
Kolton Miller: If you’re in the camp that taller is better, and don’t like the idea of Wynn as a tackle, then Miller is your guy. He stands 6’9” and instantly makes your team’s pickup basketball roster better. Once you add in his fast, athletic traits, you can easily see how some project him as the highest upside tackle in the draft. With that said, he’s trending toward first round status and is not worthy of it, in our opinion.
Connor Williams: Dude was a stud in 2016 and many projected him to be the next best thing when the 2018 draft rolled around. But he got hurt, and his 2017 was good, but not spectacular like his 2016 season. To put a Bengals spin on this, Geno Atkins was an absolute beast in 2012. He got hurt in 2013, and in 2014 he was decent, but not elite. But in 2014 he returned to form and has been elite ever since. If you think Williams follows a similar path, then you are getting him at a bargain by drafting him now, figuring that he rebounds and is a stud in the future. If you think the injury has diminished him and he will never be as good as he was, then he’s not a first or second round guy.
Orlando Brown: Big linemen generally don’t excel with big numbers at the NFL combine. And it’s not surprising to see one of them have a bad vertical, or a bad 40 time, or a bad broad jump, or a bad bench press. But was is surprising is to see a potential first round pick do bad at all of these. And not just bad, but historically worst ever kind of bad. This is the perception that many have regarding Brown.
What many overlook when just focusing on the awful combine is that he improved on all of his numbers at his pro day. They also overlook his game film which had him as one of the highest rated linemen by PFF, and many evaluators. He easily creates running lanes with his size and strength, and is difficult to get around as a pass protector, only surrendering one sack all season, and few pressures.
Some people will complain that as a blocker, Brown merely “gets in the way”. But the funny thing is that getting in the way of the defenders is exactly what an offensive lineman is supposed to do. It’s like complaining that a possession receiver catches everything thrown to him, but doesn’t make acrobatic, highlight catches, and is therefore no good. Ultimately Brown is the anti-Margus Hunt. Some people will like him for his productivity, while some people won’t like that he’s merely a good football player and not a world class athlete, too.
Chukwuma Okorafor: Looking at the composite ranking from the various sites, Okorafor grades out at 5.9 overall. I need to point this out because that’s the exact same grade that Cedric Ogbuehi had when he was drafted. I point this out because it gives us a good reference for how mediocre Ogbuehi was as a prospect, that he’s equivalent to a guy like Okorafor, who is a third round pick at best.
Outside of Brandon Scherff, the 2015 wasn’t a great draft for offensive linemen. But that didn’t stop teams from taking 7 of them in the first round, or the Bengals grabbing two of them with their top two picks. Selecting the best apple from a pile of rotten ones still results in a rotten apple. A “best player available” drafting team should know better than to focus their picks on a position group in a year when that position group is weak.
Tyrell Crosby: Bengals fans burned by former Oregon Duck Jake Fisher may not be interested in another tackle from the same school. Of the two, Fisher measured as taller, stronger and faster. The Bengals attended his pro day and have expressed some interest.