The 2019 NFL season has almost come to and end with the Super Bowl just on the horizon. While the top four offenses are still alive in the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals have gotten a head start in looking at who they could possibly end up with in mock drafts, so who is the real winner here?
Of course with looking at mock drafts this early, it should be noted how quickly these things can change. Just last week, former LSU LB Devin White was essentially the consensus pick for the Bengals at the 11th overall slot. As all 135 underclassmen have now officially been granted early entry into the NFL, we are now seeing more and more diversity with their pick. It should also be reminded that at this time last year the Bengals were constantly mocked offensive tackles. One popular choice was Orlando Brown Jr. who ended up falling to the third round after one of the worst scouting combine performances of all time.
These mock drafts do give us an early indication of some names to watch out for. Plus it is just exciting to try and figure out who Cincinnati can add to improve their team.
ESPN Mel Kiper: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Bengals have missed on a few offensive linemen in the draft in recent years, and there’s still a hole at right tackle. That’s where Taylor would slot in. He took a huge step forward playing on the right side in 2018, though there’s still mixed opinion from people I trust in the league. Taylor is raw, but he has the tools to be a premier road grader in the running game.
NFL.com Daniel Jeremiah: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Bengals need to upgrade their offensive line, and Ford offers the flexibility to play inside or outside.
SB Nation: Devin White, LB, LSU
This just seems like one of those picks that will be locked in for much of the draft process the next few months. A linebacker is high on the list of needs for Cincinnati this offseason, and White is the type of player who can set the tone.
CBS Sports: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Taylor is massive at 6-5 and around 325 pounds, but he carries his weight amazingly well thanks to light feet, the ability to sink at the knees to not get out-leveraged, and a powerful upper body that allows him to control most defensive linemen. Cincinnati got good returns from Cordy Glenn in 2018 and can play Taylor opposite him at his natural right tackle position.
Draft Wire: Devin White, LB, LSU
This fit is just too perfect. The Bengals desperately need a three-down playmaker who can transform the identity of their entire defense, and White is absolutely that player. One of the best overall players in this entire draft, White would be a huge steal outside the top 10.
The right tackle position is definitely a glaring need for the Bengals, and draft analysts now seem to be most taking note of that. Jonah Williams, the offensive tackle from Alabama, is already off the board in most of these, which isn’t uncommon. What is new is players such Jawaan Taylor and Cody Ford are being propped up as first-round options for the Bengals. They could always trade back into the 20s like they did last year, but they have a legitimate shot at drafting an elite talent like former Houston DT Ed Oliver with their current selection. You have to think an offensive tackle they’d select would be of equal grade with another top-tier player.
Drafting best player available isn’t exactly the strategy most teams utilize, but the Bengals aren’t afraid of solidifying future needs instead of going for their most glaring ones. Perhaps they address the right tackle position like they did the center position last year in drafting Billy Price, but there’s still plenty of time to gauge a better understanding of their plans.