Many Bengals fans felt the team could have waited until Round 2 to draft Ohio State center Billy Price.
Instead, the Bengals selected Price one pick after Arkansas center Frank Ragnow was taken off-the-board by the Lions. Price was the No. 21 overall pick in the draft, marking the first time back-to-back centers were taken in the first round in more than 20 years and only the second time two centers were selected in the first round in a decade.
According to radio voice of the Bengals, Dan Hoard, “at least one NFL team contacted the Bengals after they selected Billy Price and said they were prepared to take him later in the first round.”
“So if you think he would have been there at 46, I don’t think that’s the case,” Hoard said.
There are a bunch of teams that were rumored to be interested in Price, among them were the Patriots and Vikings, both of whom had picks after the Bengals. In Geoff Hobson’s mailbag this week, he wrote the following, tipping his hand at which team may have told the Bengals they were drafting Price if Cincinnati did not.
Price is the pick there. Never would have made it to No. 46. Mike Zimmer would have seen to that at No. 30.
The other center in the conversation of being one of the top three in this year’s draft, Iowa’s James Daniels, was taken by the Bears at pick No. 39, so he also wouldn’t have been available for the Bengals who entered Day 2 of the draft with the No. 46 pick.
“So then you get to 46 and all your centers are gone, the three you said ‘man, we’ve got three, we’ve got three to choose from’ you might not have gotten any of them,” Dave Lapham said in discussing the situation with Hoard. “If Ragnow might have been a guy you had rated a little higher, so be it. He went. Detroit took him the very pick before. Move right on, take Billy Price, make sure you get one of them, don’t overcomplicate it.”
Lapham also had very favorable things to say about the new Bengals center, who he believes could be a mainstay in Cincinnati for the next decade.
“Billy Price is going to be a guy that’s going to be technique sound. I think he’s much superior technique wise to a lot of starting NFL centers right now. I think he’s a plug and play guy,” Lapham said. “He’s 23-years-old, has some maturity about him, he blew everyone away in his initial press conference. This kid gets it. He gets it about life, not just football.”
Lapham even called Price a mini-Whit, referring to long-time Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, which is basically the highest compliment a Bengals offensive lineman could receive.
So, if you thought the Bengals reached for Price or if you thought they could get him Round 2, it sounds like neither of those claims are accurate.