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Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have Bengals going in different directions in dueling mock draft

Would the Bengals take a quarterback over a linebacker? Or a linebacker over a top-5 player?

NCAA Football: Missouri Pro Day Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like the closer the 2019 NFL Draft gets, the less we actually know about what will happen. A couple picks inside the top five seem to be stone cold locks, but it’s difficult to gaze through the annual smoke storm that comes around this time of year.

For ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, both of their latest mock drafts come together in the form of a dueling two-round session and completely agree on how the first seven picks will turn out to be. Beyond that lies contradicting selections that shake up the rest of the remaining 64 selections.

The Bengals happen to one of the teams that Kiper and McShay differ on in both rounds. But before they were on the clock, the following players were off both boards:

  • Kyler Murray
  • Nick Bosa
  • Josh Allen
  • Quinnen Williams
  • Devin White
  • Dwayne Haskins
  • Jawaan Taylor
  • T.J. Hockenson

11. Cincinnati Bengals

Kiper: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

The Bengals aren’t tied long term to Andy Dalton, who is signed through 2020 but has no more guaranteed money on his contract. Taking Lock here would give new coach Zac Taylor a young quarterback to mold for the future.

McShay: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

Quarterback is definitely an option, but the Bengals badly want to restock the linebacker corps. Vontaze Burfict is gone, and Bush’s range and leadership would fill the void.

You know who was the last quarterback taken outside of the top three picks in the first round not by a team that traded up for him? E.J. Manuel. The Bills actually traded down eight spots in the 2013 NFL Draft and ended up snagging Manuel, who was also the first quarterback taken that year.

This is not an indictment on Lock, but more of a reality check. First round quarterbacks never fall into the hands of teams who didn’t finish at the top of the draft order, and it won’t likely happen to Lock either, or Haskins for that matter, who ended up with the Giants at sixth overall in both mocks.

But, Kiper chose Lock over the likes of Devin Bush, Brian Burns and Christian Wilkins because of positional value, while McShay decided to address the Bengals’ biggest need in Bush and passing on a superior talent in Ed Oliver in the process. Oliver went ninth overall to the Bills in Kiper’s mock.

Kiper attacked the linebacker position for the Bengals in the second round while McShay moved on to another glaring need.

42. Cincinnati Bengals

Kiper: Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama

If the Bengals don’t go linebacker at No. 11, they could grab one here. Wilson, my third-ranked inside ‘backer, has some coverage skills; he had six interceptions over the past two seasons.

McShay: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

McGary is a great run-blocker, which should help Joe Mixon find holes.

If the Bengals go quarterback or any other position that’s not linebacker in round one, you can bet they won’t wait long to eventually fill the need. Wilson is probably not going to hear his name called in the first 32 picks, but the Alabama pedigree and his perceived upside at just 21 years of age will entice franchises before long.

Interestingly enough, Wilson remained on the board by the end of McShay’s mock, and likely for good reason. His lack of elite production and athleticism testing are major concerns for his long-term outlook, and other linebackers have done much more in terms of boosting their stock.

McShay’s pick in McGary is a logical one. McGary confirmed his elite athleticism at the NFL combine after flashing dominance at the Senior Bowl the month prior. There’s even buzz about him coming off the board late in the first round. If he’s there at pick No. 42, you have to assume he’ll be a part of the conversation. The Bengals need depth at offensive tackle like no other position, and can be expected to address that depth as early as day two of the draft.

Which scenario would you prefer the Bengals emulate?


Which two-round mock is better for the Bengals?

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