It’s been almost two weeks since the 2018 NFL Draft ended.
While it wasn’t perfect, it was still a solid three days for the Bengals in acquiring enough talent to help the team contend for a playoff spot in 2018.
So, after some time to digest everything, here are four more thoughts on the Bengals’ 2018 draft class.
Making the Most of 12th Overall Pick
When the Bengals ended the season on a two-game winning streak, they went from possibly having a top-five pick to not even being in the top 10. That win streak effectively cost them a chance to take Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, who were widely viewed as the two best linemen in this draft.
But both players wound up being selected in the top 10, thus leaving the Bengals without a good lineman to take at No. 12 had they stayed there.
Making matters even worse is, had the Bengals stood pat at No. 12, they may have reached for UCLA’s Kolton Miller, who the Raiders ended up reaching for at No. 15.
So to recap, we could have seen a scenario in which the Bengals won two games to fall down to the No. 12 pick, saved Marvin Lewis’ job, and took Kolton Miller at No. 12. That’s nothing short of a disastrous offseason for a franchise that could not afford anything short of a ‘good’ offseason.
Thankfully, you could make a good case for the Bengals having their best offseason in recent memory, as thy ended up parlaying the No. 12 pick into Cordy Glenn and Billy Price, two guys who will drastically upgrade this offensive line.
In Pollack We Trust
The Bengals went out of their way not to select another offensive lineman until Round 7, when they took a developmental project in Ole Miss’ Rod Taylor.
Again and again, they passed on higher-ranked offensive lineman between Rounds 2-6, including Texas’ Connor Williams, Oregon’s Tyrell Crosby and Mississippi State’s Martinas Rankin, all so they could take three defensive backs and a running back, none of which were viewed as even a minor need going into the draft.
I believe this was because the Bengals have faith in new offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who they think will make a big impact on the linemen already on the roster. That includes Trey Hopkins, Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi, Alex Redmond, TJ Johnson, Bobby Hart and Christian Westerman.
Two from that group will probably be the starting right guard and right tackle when Week 1 is here, so perhaps the Bengals think Pollack can make something out of some of those guys and didn’t feel more bodies were needed.
Staying True to the Big Board
Sometimes, a good way to tell if a team is staying true to their big board is when they take players at positions that are not a big need. That’s something the Bengals did frequently on Day 3, and as mentioned above, passed on talented players at bigger positions of need in the process.
In way, you have to appreciate that, as guys like Jessie Bates, Mark Walton, Davontae Harris and Darrius Phillips must have been pretty high on their board for the Bengals to take them over players that would have filled bigger needs.
Sure, the Bengals may have reached a little for Billy Price, but even he wasn’t making it to Round 2, so it was either at 21 or not at all for the Bengals.
Faith in Wide Receivers
No, wide receiver was not a big need going into the draft, but after the Bengals got very little production outside of A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell, no one would have been surprised if they took one early, at least before Round 7 when they took Florida State’s Auden Tate.
The Bengals had chances to land some pretty big impact receivers throughout the draft, including Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, Memphis’ Anthony Miller, Oklahoma State’s James Washington, Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton and Clemson’s Deon Cain, but they passed on them to take other players at positions of less need.
That’s a good sign that the team has faith in at least one of John Ross, Josh Malone, Tyler Boyd, Cody Core and Alex Erickson to step up in a big way this season and take pressure off of A.J. Green.