For those who have been paying attention to mock drafts for the Bengals, you’ll probably remember a time when almost every single one had Cincinnati selecting linebacker Devin White out of LSU.
However, as we have seen free agency and the NFL combine go by, it seems like the chances of White making it to the Bengals has become less and less likely. Even though there are still some scenarios where he falls to Cincinnati, the vast majority don’t.
So, who are the new names on the Bengals’ radar?
Here is this week’s NFL mock draft roundup:
I thought about an offensive lineman, but how often do chances to draft a developmental QB come up like this? Andy Dalton has an extremely team-friendly contract, and the Bengals can move on from him at basically any point with no collateral damage. Grooming Haskins in what should be a rebuild season would be a deft move. New head coach Zac Taylor was asked at the scouting combine what he sought in a potential quarterback addition, and it seems to fit Haskins’ traits to a tee.
LSU linebacker Devin White is the player mocked most often to the Bengals when it comes to filling Cincy’s linebacker need, but what if I told you that there was not only a better option but a better Devin. I’m a big Devin Bush fan. He was leader and a playmaker for the Michigan Wolverines in just about every way, and i believe he can step in his rookie year and begin to impact the Bengals in a similar fashion.
Younger, faster and more dynamic. That should be the goal for the Cincinnati Bengals on defense this offseason. Bush is a fantastic athlete who can play “Mike” or “Will” linebacker thanks to his toughness and coverage range. He’s a sneaky good blitzer, too, who can have an immediate impact as a three-down linebacker with the tools to patrol sideline-to-sideline with ease.
Slow linebackers equal a slow defense. That has hurt the Bengals for years. Based on the contract he received, Preston Brown will lock down one off-ball linebacker spot for the 2019 season. Adding Bush could change the defense’s success as a whole. He is a missile in the running game and frequently shows comfort in space and recognition to win in coverage.
Offense, particularly the line, seems like a real possibility here with Zac Taylor running the show. But White is the kind of impact player you want right at the heart of your defense.
The difference between left and right tackle has become blurred over time, and the Bengals really struggled at RT last year. Dillard’s pass-protection skills will be valued on the right side and he could shift to the blind side once Cordy Glenn’s time with the team comes to an end. The Bengals re-signed Bobby Hart, but he slides into backup duty in this scenario.
I have gone with the other Devin in previous Mock Drafts -- LSU’s Devin White -- but Bush isn’t far behind White as the best middle linebacker in this class. One of the prospects I picked out as a combine riser because of his workouts, Bush is always around the ball on film. The Bengals just brought back Preston Brown in free agency, but Bush could play any of the linebacker spots at the next level. He’s a three-down player.
With the top two linebackers gone, the Bengals are in a tricky spot at No. 11. Metcalf would be Cincinnati’s third first-round wide receiver pick since 2011. A.J. Green, the team’s 2011 first-round pick, is a free agent after the season. John Ross, the team’s 2017 first-round pick, hasn’t produced and was part of trade rumors this offseason. With players at bigger positions of need gone, the Bengals could gamble on Metcalf’s upside.