Many were begging the Cincinnati Bengals to take an offensive tackle in Round 1.
In Round 2, just about everyone expected them to take an offensive tackle. At first, it seemed like they got their wish, but the Bengals plan on using Jackson Carman at guard in his rookie season.
Near the end of the fourth round, the Bengals finally went for an offensive tackle with East Carolina’s D’Ante Smith.
What Smith brings to the Bengals
Arm length is talked about a lot when it comes to offensive tackles, perhaps too much. Jonah Williams was seen as a guard by many because his arms were slightly shorter than is considered ideal.
With an 85-inch wingspan, Smith does not have that problem. He has excellent length.
Smith is also a very good athlete. He moves well, particularly in pass protection.
Why the Bengals picked Smith
The combination of size plus athletic ability add up to massive potential. Smith will be a great project for new offensive line coach Frank Pollack.
The Bengals’ offensive line struggles have been well documented.
Prior to the draft they replaced right tackle Bobby Hart with Riley Reiff. This is potentially a huge addition for the team. Reiff was a first round pick for the Detroit Lions in 2012 and has had a lot of good years in the NFL, but it’s the number of years that is the issue. At 32 years-old, how much gas does Reiff have left in the tank?
Smith, Fred Johnson, and 2020 Day 3 pick Hakeem Adeniji are a young trio of potential eventual replacements for Reiff.
Even if he does not become a starter, the pick would be a success if he is able to develop into the swing tackle. This would give him a significant role as the backup to both the left and right tackle.