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Why Billy Price is my NFL Draft crush for the Bengals

The Bengals need a center they can rely on for many years to come. Billy Price can be their man.

Ohio State v Penn State

There is no question that center is the Bengals’ biggest need going into the draft, so their best move in Round 1 may be to simply take who they view as the best available center.

There’s a good chance that man is Ohio State’s Billy Price.

Price, who was once regarded as the top center in this draft, has seen his stock drop quite a bit in recent months after he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle at the combine. There were concerns he could miss training camp and even open his rookie season on PUP, which would have nuked his chances of going in Round 1.

But prior to the draft, Price went to Indianpolis for medical rechecks on his injured pectoral. The recheck went very well, and now, Price’s doctors are saying he will be cleared for NFL training camps in July.

That’s great news for the Bengals, because a good argument can be made for Price being the best center in this draft and one of the best overall offensive lineman.

Coming out of high school, Price was actually the Associated Press Division 1 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in Ohio, but he moved to the offensive line during his redshirt freshman season. That prior background as a defensive lineman would help shape his shape his ability to dominate them while on the other side of the trenches.

On offense, Price began his career at guard, where he started all 15 games (three at left guard, 12 at right) on the national championship-winning Buckeyes team in 2014. He earned third-team All-Big Ten honors as a full-time starter at left guard the following year, then earned first-team honors as a right guard as a junior.

Price didn’t move to center until his senior year, and he was a unanimous All-American, won the Rimington Trophy and was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2017. His versatility among interior offensive line positions makes him among the most attractive offensive linemen in this class

For the Bengals, I want a guy with a mean streak, has produced at the highest level of college football, and has extensive background at other spots along the offensive line. For all we know, the Bengals will end up finding their center of the future already on the roster in someone like Christian Westerman, who was once compared to Alex Mack.

I want a guy like Price who can make an impact at other spots if center, for whatever reason, doesn’t work out. He’s good enough to give the Bengals an upgrade at right guard, where the incumbent Trey Hopkins has done nothing to secure his spot.

But in the end, Price’s future is at center, and that’s where he’d make an immediate impact for the Bengals.

Admittedly, I’m not someone you should rely on as a draft expert, but guys who deserve that title like Lance Zierlein love Price’s potential. Zierlein is actually comparing Price to former Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley. He was arguably the NFL’s best center before a major knee injury with the Browns cut his career short.

Bengals Draft Crush: Billy Price

Billy Price is our dream draft pick for the Bengals. Who’s yours?

Posted by Cincy Jungle on Monday, April 23, 2018

Who is your favorite prospect in this draft class?