The Cincinnati Bengals met with a pair of offensive linemen ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Bengals met with BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland and Kentucky guard Tashawn Manning virtually over Zoom, according to Justin Melo of the Draft Network.
First up is BYU offensive tackle, Blake Freeland.
.@BYUfootball OT Blake Freeland is one of the most athletic OL in the Draft. Freeland ran 4.98 40 & leaped 120" broad.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 26, 2023
Freeland met w/ #Bengals, #Saints, #Jets at Pro Day. Virtuals w/ #Packers, #Falcons, #Cardinals, #Lions, #Raiders, #Browns, #Texans.https://t.co/ynj9n0l1gW
Freeland played in 44 games for BYU and started in 41 of those.
In 2022, Freeland started all 13 games for the Cougars and was selected to the Third Team All-American Team.
He was the fourth-highest-graded tackle in the country last season with a 90.9 overall grade, according to PFF.
Freeland is the 92nd-ranked player in the upcoming draft and ranked eighth out of all offensive tackles.
NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein stated, “[Freeland is] a sky-scraping tackle prospect with outstanding length and good fluidity, Freeland should get much stronger with time in an NFL weight room. He is an effort-based run blocker who has to really crank up the work rate and technique to try to overcome his leverage disadvantages due to his height. He plays with decent technique in protection and does a nice job of battling through adversity inside the rep. However, he might lack the bend and range to get out and redirect speedy edge-benders. Freeland is an unfinished product with a modest ceiling as a pro.”
6’7” 302 lbs with a 37” vertical?@BYUfootball’s @FreelandBlake just set a new Combine record for offensive linemen (since 2003)— NFL (@NFL) March 5, 2023
: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/pyFOqc8Ydz
The Bengals also met with Kentucky guard, Tashawn Manning.
.@UKFootball OG Tashawn Manning is a physical and versatile OL. Natural OG, but 34.5" arms, played OT/C at @NFLPABowl.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) April 27, 2023
Recent Zooms include #Raiders, #Cardinals, #Jets, #Giants, #Bengals, #Ravens, #49ers, #Browns & #Saints.@tashawn544 x @TheDraftNetworkhttps://t.co/PNBz1kAHZK
Manning began his football career at Auburn and joined Kentucky as a graduate transfer. He started 12 of the 13 games for Cats, only missing one game due to an injury.
Manning has experience at left and right guard. He posted a 69.7 overall PFF blocking grade last season.
He is listed as a potential free agent candidate, and Dane Brugler has Manning ranked 21st among all guards.
NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein stated, “Manning’s athletic limitations will be frowned upon by some teams, but he’s huge, long and powerful. Even without the knee bend and lateral quickness, he can still do enough for consideration as a backup guard. He will need to play in a downhill scheme full of gap plays and inside zone. His reps could be hit or miss, but his power is obvious when he connects and runs his feet. He lacks range but can swallow bull rushers without much concern. Manning might be a late-round or undrafted consideration, but players with his traits tend to find their way onto rosters.”
Manning is also a potential Oscar winner (just joking around) with the flop of the year below.
Tashawn Manning learned this during his OVW internship!!! pic.twitter.com/4fW2lU2geT— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 16, 2022
Both guys are intriguing options for the Bengals. Cincinnati could be looking to add a starter in the upcoming draft, as well as some much-needed depth.