The NFL draft is finally here — well, almost here at least. We have just enough time to really get a look at one more mock draft round up to try and get an idea of some players the Bengals could end up with.
This whole evaluation process has sent the Bengals pick on a rollercoaster. It started out simple with linebacker Devin White being projected as the easy pick for Cincinnati. Then it became Devin Bush when it seemed like White would be off the board. We have finally ended up at a point where we can't even be sure either linebacker will be there, and we now have the strong possibility of ending up with a quarterback in the first round.
It really has been one heck of a ride, but the real one is getting to take off Thursday night.
Here is this year's final mock draft roundup:
Will Cincinnati pull the trigger on a quarterback here? I’m not so sure. Bush fills a void and could be a steal. Some teams like Bush more than White.
The Bengals would have loved to add Bush in the middle of the defense, but they also need offensive line help. Williams is an upgrade over Bobby Hart at right tackle. He handles speed off the edge effortlessly and shows pop when run blocking.
Rashan Gary is an enigma because his athleticism is off the charts but he didn’t have the production to match it. The reason? He was played out of position at Michigan. He’s not an interior defensive lineman; at 6-foot-4, 277 pounds he’s best on the edge where he can use his quickness, strength and speed (he ran a 4.58 40 at the combine) to win against offensive tackles. The Bengals have needs at pass rusher and a defensive line that includes Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and Gary could be scary. The biggest question is whether Gary will ever approach his ceiling as a player.
One of the best fits in the draft, White patrols the middle with incredible athleticism that translated to a 91.6 coverage grade last season. He’s not great in the run game, but coverage is far more important and even more so for a Bengals defense that has assets on the outside but was torched over the middle of the field last year.
Anytime there’s a new head coach, there’s speculation about a new QB. With Andy Dalton not receiving an extension this offseason, this pick makes sense.
Big changes in the Queen City. Head coach Marvin Lewis is out after 16 seasons (and zero playoff wins). Let’s assume quarterback Andy Dalton’s job is safe - but new head coach Zac Taylor surely wants his own passer to groom. With the former Buckeyes star still on the board, this pick helps the future and the box office. That is assuming the Bengals consider Haskins a top 20 talent. That’s not a universal belief.
This is an interesting spot in the draft, as the Bengals could be tempted by a quarterback or look to deal this pick to a team in search of one. Bush would be the ideal replacement for Vontaze Burfict.
The Bengals get aggressive in finding a future franchis QB with their new head coach Zac Taylor. The Bucs would seriously consider Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen here but instead pick up more early picks.
This connection won’t go away. With a new head coach in Zac Taylor, the time is easier than ever for the Bengals to make a change at quarterback. Andy Dalton can transition into being a bridge quarterback before Haskins takes over.
Burns is a polarizing player around the league, but no one doubts that he has the best get-off quickness in the draft. Cincinnati needs help on defense, and Burns fits the bill.
Which team will be willing to take the gamble on Haskins? I think the local team, Cincinnati, will see the value in a pure pocket-passer with a quick trigger and great short/intermediate accuracy -- new HC Zac Taylor saw that mold succeed in Los Angeles with Jared Goff, where he was previously the offensive coordinator.
Cincinnati gets their future quarterback. I don’t believe the recent news saying Daniel Jones will be QB2 -- that’s Lock.
With Andre Dillard and both linebackers going in the top 10, the Bengals stick to their board and take the next best player in Jonah Williams. The Alabama offensive lineman is tough, smart, determined and technically sound. He should provide an instant upgrade at right tackle and give the Bengals quality run blocking reps. Much like Mike McGlinchey last year, I expect Williams to be a high-floor type of rookie who can have a positive impact early in his career.