The Bengals have a big need at offensive tackle. I know that, you know that, the problem is they don’t know that. With the re-signing of Bobby Hart, the Bengals have accepted the status quo for the time being at the tackle position.
This is a great year to need an offensive tackle. While there is no NFL draft prospect who is a legitimate contender for a top-five pick at the position, there are a handful who should receive consideration in the top half of the first round. This includes prospects such as Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Oklahoma’s Jonah Williams, Washington State’s Andre Dillard, and Twitter’s — I mean Kansas State’s Dalton Risner.
On top of that, there are so many talented edge rushers like Florida State’s Brian Burns, Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat, and Michigan’s Rashan Gary that some of these talented tackles could get pushed back. Pair this with the fact that two or three quarterbacks WILL go in the top 10, and the Bengals are in a great position to get a starter at right tackle.
The only problem is they already have their starter. The Bengals re-signed Hart, and are paying him like a starter. It is true that the Bengals could cut him in a year without a major cap hit, but the money isn’t the only factor here.
Both head coach Zac Taylor and offensive line coach Jim Turner have vocally supported Hart. Troy Blackburn didn’t so much defend the player as the move to re-sign him.
While doing so he said, “Oh, maybe you’ll draft one in the 3rd Round and he’ll come on,” which just goes to show you, that even before officially bring Hart back, they may not’ve been seriously thinking about taking a tackle with the 11th overall.
Yes, the Bengals have a need for a starting right tackle. Yes, there is a possibility that Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and LSU linebacker Devin White are off the board when they’re on the clock. Yes, that very well could mean the best available player will be an offensive tackle who could come in and start over Hart. No, they will not take one in the first round.
Instead, the Bengals seem to be zeroing in on the linebacker position, so a player like Michigan’s Devin Bush makes a lot of sense. Blackburn may have slipped a bit with his third round comment, as that may be the first real chance of seeing the Bengals select an offensive tackle.
This does not mean the Bengals will not draft an offensive tackle at all. After losing Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in free agency, they lack any and all depth at the position. They will likely draft one or two offensive tackles, but probably not until rounds three or four. They will look for players who they can develop for depth and a possible replacement for Hart and/or Cordy Glenn down the line when they hit the free agent market.
Bengals fans should prepare themselves mentally for another year of Bobby Hart at right tackle.