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NFL Draft prospects the Bengals should be watching in the National Championship

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This is the last college football game of the season, and there are plenty of players with the NFL in their future. Who could end up being drafted by the Bengals from this game?

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Media Day Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers are facing off, yet again, in this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship. These are the two best teams in the nation, and the talent level on both sides is largely unmatched by any other teams. When the 2019 NFL Draft approaches us, the Bengals would be smart to remember the names of some players playing in this game.

Here are some players to watch for Bengals’ fans:

Quinnen Williams, defensive tackle, Alabama: The time after Geno Atkins hangs up the cleats is not something we like to think about, but as each year passes, it becomes inevitably closer. Atkins is getting up there in age despite the team giving him a sizable extension last offseason. Cincinnati shouldn’t be deterred from looking for his replacement, or at the very least some help for him, in this draft because of that.

Williams represents the kind of defensive tackle the Bengals desperately need to add. Last season Cincinnati struggled to get a consistent pass rush, especially after Carl Lawson went down for the season. Andrew Billings finished the season with 2.5 sacks, Christian Ringo had 1.5, and Adolphus Washington had one sack as well. Cincinnati needs another threat from the inside on passing downs instead of relying on cycling in defensive ends inside.

Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson: Similar to the reason the Bengals should consider Williams, the team needs more pass rushers, while Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap aren’t getting any younger. Ferrell had 11.5 sacks this season, and he will be matched up with the best left tackle in the draft, which means he has a chance to make a statement of how ready he is to join the NFL. After having a sack and forced fumble against Notre Dame, Ferrell is riding a hot streak into what is probably going to be a draft stock defining performance.

Jonah Williams, offensive tackle, Alabama: Williams has just as much to gain by shutting down Ferrell and the rest of Clemson’s pass rush. He isn’t the most physically imposing offensive tackle you will ever see, but he is just so rock solid in his technique that you will have serious issues finding a hole in his game. His footwork is incredible when handling the fast pass rushers who want to run around him, and he is so good at taking the proper angles to open up holes for his running backs. Odds are you won’t directly notice him, but on replays of big plays, you will probably notice Williams having an important block.

Irv Smith Jr., tight end, Alabama: It is no secret the Bengals have had issues keeping tight ends healthy, and not to mention Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah will all be free agents this offseason, so Cincinnati may be forced to spend a fairly high pick on the position.

Smith isn’t going to impress you as a blocker, but he has displayed some serious ability to create after the catch, and he uses his 6’5” frame extremely well. Odds are he will have to spend some time as the second tight end in an offense before moving on to a bigger role, but he is still very capable of injecting some life into an offense.

Tre Lamar, linebacker, Clemson: Lamar is a physically imposing linebacker who needs to prove he can be the guy a team can rely on to go sideline-to-sideline at the next level. He is a guy who has plenty to gain or lose at the scouting combine. He will, however, have a chance to try and showcase his athleticism and instincts against this incredible Alabama offense tonight. If Cincinnati decides to wait to address their hole at linebacker, Lamar could be a candidate on the second day of the draft.

Mack Wilson, linebacker, Alabama: Wilson flies around the field, and he has uncanny ball skills for an inside linebacker. He has also recorded six interceptions over the past two seasons. He would be a great pick for the Bengals, but he has also hinted at returning to school next year. That means Bengals fans may have to wait another season if they want to pine over Wilson ending up in stripes.

Who will you be watching for tonight?