The draft starts on April 25th, which is approaching very quickly. Prospects have been busy traveling the country and visiting various NFL teams.
The Bengals pick use to be one of the more obvious at the beginning of the draft process, but as we’ve gotten closer to the actual day, it has been harder and harder to nail down what Cincinnati could do.
This week experts have added a seemingly new possibility with the 11th overall pick, a quarterback. It seems the new consensus has become that the Bengals could take linebacker Devin Bush or take a shot on a franchise quarterback.
Here is this week’s mock draft roundup:
The head says to go with the bigger man, always, the bigger man, and an NFL-ready player that lines up next to Pro Bowler Geno Atkins in the middle on Opening Day. Wilkins. But the heart says to go with the man you need most and every Cincy school kid knows they need a supersonic fast linebacker that can energize and modernize a defense that finished last in 2018. And what a way to replace Vontaze Burfict at WILL with a guy who is your best backer no matter where you put him with that intergalactic 4.43 40-yard dash. Bush.
New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor came from Los Angeles where he spent a season with Jared Goff, a strong-armed pocket passer who needed a year to acclimate to the pro game. Lock wouldn’t have to be rushed onto the field but would give the new era in Cincinnati a new quarterback.
There’s a large gap between both linebackers named Devin and the rest of the linebacker field. In light of veteran LB Vontaze Burfict’s departure, Cincinnati adds the linebacker with the best ability to help affect pressure both by rushing the passer (10 sacks in the last two seasons) and in coverage (11 passes defensed over the past two seasons).
Ed Oliver set the world on fire with his Pro Day athletic testing, showing that he’s a legitimate top 10 player in the NFL Draft. While he could fall out of the top 10 due to positional value, Cincinnati would be wise to pair him with fellow defensive tackle Geno Atkins. That duo would cause consistent pressure and havoc on the interior, making life easier for the weaker Bengals linebacker core.
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is the perfect fit for the Bengals, but it would be hard to pass up a potential franchise quarterback for a linebacker. Average Andy Dalton’s contract would let the Bengals easily release him without much repercussion. Head coach Zac Taylor could start his tenure in Cincinnati with the quarterback of his choosing.
With some talent along the Bengals defensive line, Bush should have help up front to blitz, run and chase — his specialty — in their scheme. He’s a tad undersized, but he has more than enough in terms of movement skills and ability to anticipate to be productive in the AFC North.
Mel 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.
Todd McShay: Devin Bush, LB, 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.
With Devin White gone, with the board having fallen this way, not expecting Dwayne Haskins to be here, and quarterback is the place you have to take shots.
What are your thoughts on the experts picks for the Bengals?