The Bengals broke away from defense after focusing on it in the fifth round with three-straight offensive players.
The second one was Ole Miss offensive lineman Rod Taylor. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but he didn’t see much playing time until his last season when he started every game at right tackle for the Rebels.
How he helps the Bengals:
Another offensive lineman: In case you missed last season, the Bengals’ offensive line was a tire fire. The additions of Cordy Glenn at tackle and Billy Price at center will go a long way to helping the issues that plagued the Bengals last season.
Still, the more competition the better, and it looks like Taylor could develop into at least a depth lineman. While most of his experience is at tackle he is too short to stay out there. He will likely end up as a guard.
Potential: The addition of Frank Pollack as the Bengals offensive line coach gives us the ability to be a little more excited about a low-risk guy like Taylor. As stated before he was highly recruited out of Ole Miss, but he never seemed to put it together in college. Hopefully, he finds a way to do so at whatever position the Bengals stick him at.
Why the pick makes sense:
Need: The Bengals came into the offense needing to upgrade most of their offensive line. They drafted Price, but he was the only offensive lineman the Bengals took before Taylor. It seemed like it would be a pretty hard to pill to swallow to only come away with one offensive lineman at a position with still so many question marks.
Low-Risk: The Bengals passed on several offensive linemen during the draft. Most of the guys, like Taylor, were project players. Of course some of them had better tools than others, but the Bengals weren’t going to be able to plug and play most of them.
The Bengals instead opted to add depth or just generally better players at other positions. They still ended up with a highly skilled project offensive lineman, but they only spent a seventh round pick in doing so.
Competition: The offensive line during the offseason will likely be treated as a competition. The best guys will play. They can’t afford to do anything less. At the very least, Taylor helps the guys ahead of him feel more uncomfortable about their spot on the depth chart. At best, he eventually takes that spot.