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Assessing the value Bengals got in drafting Ohio State Buckeyes center Billy Price

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The Bengals land their center of the future, but was he a reach at 21?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Billy Price Press Conference Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

With the NFL Draft having come and gone, it’s time to get back into out ‘Assessing the Value’ series.

Up first is none other than the Bengals’ first-round selection of Billy Price. The former Ohio State Buckeyes center was regarded as one of the best interior lineman in this draft, but not everyone was convinced he was worthy of the 21st overall selection.

Many experts had Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow rated as the top center in this draft. He ended up going 20th to the Lions.

Some even had Iowa’s James Daniels ranked ahead of Price, though Daniels didn’t hear his name called until 39th to the Bears.

Who ends up being the best center remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Price wasn’t thought too highly of for the 21st pick.

ESPN’s Todd McShay had Price ranked 33rd overall coming into the draft, while Mel Kiper ranked him 67th. NFL.com ranked Price 35th,

CBS Sports had him ranked 47th. The Cold Omaha Consensus Big Board, which factors in every major draft ranking, had Price ranked as the 34th-best prospect in this draft.

Needless to say, the draft experts viewed Price as a slight reach at 21, but part of that was due to his partially-torn pectoral muscle at the NFL Combine, which initially looked bad enough to keep him out for all offseason workouts and part of the preseason.

But right before the draft, Price’s doctors said he would be cleared for the first day of training camp. Price has also been getting some light work in at OTAs, so it looks like he’s very close to being healed.

Had Price not suffered the injury, it’s fair to think he would have been ranked higher going into the draft, possibly enough that he would have been good value at 21.

All told, the Bengals finally got a big upgrade at center, which has been a major weakness for this team over the last decade.