For a team that hasn’t truly made any splash free agency signings, it’s been a busy first week-plus of free agency for the Cincinnati Bengals. Whether it’s in roster additions, subtractions or in visits with prospective signees, there has been a lot of headline news from the club to begin the month of March.
Tyler Eifert, C.J. Uzomah, Bobby Hart, Preston Brown, John Miller and B.W. Webb have all been signed to club for starting or heavy rotational roles going forward. While some fans disagree with the club’s stance, the Bengals seem to think that these moves are the answer for a number of positional question marks in 2019.
Regardless, part of the plan in making these moves resides opening up the draft. The consensus opinion from draftniks when it came to the Bengals is that they desperately needed help at linebacker, offensive tackle and offensive guard.
Has that changed in the wake of these moves?
Most mock drafts attached to the Cincinnati Bengals before the onset of free agency had them linked to Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Oklahoma’s Cody Ford and/or Alabama’s Jonah Williams. The team appears committed to Cordy Glenn for the foreseeable future on the left side, but there was a gaping hole on the right before the frenzy started last Monday.
Well, Hart appears to be the guy the team is leaning upon in 2019, so maybe right tackle isn’t what they want at No. 11. Miller also seems to bring an upgrade at right guard, so a swing guy like Ford seems like a luxury as well. Not to mention the fact that the team already made two major moves along the offensive line in 2018 in the trade for Glenn and using a first round pick on Billy Price.
Still, Glenn has just two years left on his deal before becoming a free agent, while Hart still comes with some major question marks. The team could still look at offensive line early on, but it will for sure be a wait-and-learn situation for the rookie.
If it wasn’t one of those big offensive linemen being mocked to the Bengals, it was one of the Devin’s at the linebacker position. Devin White of LSU is the consensus top linebacker in the class, while Devin Bush of Michigan is flying up boards after a great NFL Combine showing.
Still, both would anchor the middle, which is the spot that the team has committed to Brown. Players at the position can be a little more fluid and flexible than most, in terms of moving them around outside of their natural position and the Bengals have shown a propensity to move guys around before in the group (i.e. Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict).
With Burfict now on the Raiders and Brown being a two-down linebacker at the max, the team still needs help at the group. Did we mention that the team’s defense was dead-last in overall defense and against the pass, as well as 29th against the run last year?
The dark horse for an early pick by the Bengals is at quarterback. Cincinnati has been clear about their commitment to Andy Dalton for 2019, but they could look to the future if a guy they like falls their way.
At a minimum, another developmental guy behind Dalton is needed. Jeff Driskel has some talent, but it didn’t translate on the field last year. He wasn’t placed into the best position without Eifert, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd for varying amounts of time, but Taylor will probably want to take on a project of his own early in his head coaching tenure.
Wide receiver is at a crossroads with Green and Boyd both entering contract years, as well as some now-quelled trade rumors surrounding John Ross. The defensive line could use another rotational piece and there is some good depth in this year’s class on that front.
Cincinnati also likes their first round corners, so could that be the route? After all, they appear to be losing Darqueze Dennard, and we’re not sure about the long-term value of Dre Kirkpatrick on his current deal.
What do you think about the team’s positional needs at the moment?
What position appears to be in the most need of help after the initial wave of free agency?
This poll is closed
Also on this week’s episode:
- Are the Bengals simply treading water via free agency, or is it a far-sighted plan to open up the draft?
- The Vontaze Burfict era is over in Cincinnati. What are some of the memories of his seven-year Bengals career?
- Where should the Bengals use the freed up cap space from the Burfict release?
- Are there any significant free agent moves left on the horizon for Cincinnati?
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