The Bengals’ 2018 season is over, which means draft season is officially upon us.
There is plenty of uncertainty heading into an offseason when the Bengals are looking for a new head coach for the first time in 16 years, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at what the Bengals could do in the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
As far as logical choices go, the consensus seems to be pretty clear at the moment. LSU’s Butkus Award-winning linebacker Devin White has been mocked to the Bengals several times recently, and for good reasoning.
White looks like a true difference maker at the position. He has sideline-to-sideline speed and tackling ability that Cincinnati simply lacks in the second level of their defense. If you combine that with the Bengals possibly moving on from Vontaze Burfict at some point this offseason due to poor play and/or concerns over his many concussions, Cincinnati will have an obvious need at that position.
It is still early in the process, and some players, like White, haven’t even declared for the draft yet. Underclassmen and seniors alike will rise and fall amongst big boards as teams start to get more information on these players. Free agency will also have an impact on needs teams will have, as who knows what pot
ential free agents could part ways with the Bengals this offseason. Here are some names to get acquainted with as the offseason approaches.
SB Nation: Ed Oliver, Defensive tackle, Houston
The Bengals are one of the worst teams in the NFL this season at stopping the run, giving up 137.8 yards per game on the ground. If Oliver is on the board, he is easily the best player available and helps fix a problem for the Bengals. This is a sprint to the podium type of choice.
CBS Sports: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
The Bengals need to find a new piece to build around at linebacker, as Preston Brown is heading into free agency, Vontaze Burfict’s career is in jeopardy due to his seventh concussion and 2018 third-round pick Malik Jefferson hasn’t shown he can take over as “the guy.” The athletic White has everything you want in a middle linebacker, and letting him man the middle while Jefferson tries to play the weak side could take this defense to the next level.
Draft Wire: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
This is a perfect match of need and value, as the Bengals desperately need a true difference-maker at the heart of their defense. White is one of the best overall prospects in this year’s class, and would instantly transform the identity of this entire unit.
Bleacher Report: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
White is one of the most electric players in college football. The former standout high school running back now uses his speed and agility to track down offensive players. Having seen him in person against Georgia, it’s shocking to watch his quickness and strength going sideline to sideline. There is some Myles Jack to his game, but White is potentially more aggressive and physical.
Walter Football: Albert Okwuegbunan, Tight end, Missouri
The Bengals are always on the lookout for rare athletes, and this would qualify. They’re in desperate need of a tight end with Tyler Eifert always injured. The Bengals are always on the lookout for rare athletes, and this would qualify. They’re in desperate need of a tight end with Eifert always injured.
Who is the player you want the Bengals to draft right now?