The Bengals finally did it. They moved on from Marvin Lewis and quickly replaced him with offensive-minded coach Zac Taylor. Typically, when a team with an obvious answer at quarterback hires an offensive-minded coach, the next step is to draft a quarterback.
Cincinnati may not be ready to move on from Andy Dalton just yet, so, for now, they’re a team stuck in an awkward transition. They’re also a team with holes beyond the quarterback position, so maybe this isn’t the best year to look for a new one. And let’s not forget Cincinnati team looked pretty good before injuries took their toll on the roster, so a good draft might be enough to get it back in the playoff race.
So how will the Bengals approach the 2019 NFL draft? Let’s put the on the clock…
Day 1: 11th
Day 2: 42nd, 72nd
Day 3: 110th, 149th, 183rd, 198th, 210th, 211th, 213th, 223rd
The good news: The Bengals are sitting on a whopping 10 picks in this year’s draft.
The bad news: Seven of those picks will come on Day 3. The Bengals could try to package some of those picks for an extra Day 2 pick, but teams aren’t clamoring to add sixth-round picks.
1. Offensive tackle
You could make the argument that quarterback should be at the top of this list, but Andy Dalton has a team-friendly cap number for 2019 and the Bengals are in no position to get a top guy without trading up. Cincy can fill a more pressing need in the first and start their QB search in 2020.
1. Tight end
If Tyler Eifert is healthy, tight end isn’t much of a need for the Bengals. But it’s been a long time since the former Pro Bowler has managed to stay on the field consistently.
1. Devin White, LB LSU
2. Devin Bush, LB Michigan
3. Jonah Williams, OT Alabama
4. T.J. Hockenson, TE Iowa
5. Jawaan Taylor, OT Florida
The Bengals should have their pick of the top linebacker prospects — unless they wisely decide that offensive tackles are more valuable and wait until Day 2 to find a linebacker, that is. In which case, Jonah Williams or Jawaan Taylor, whichever tackle is left on the board at 11, would make a lot of sense.
Other names to watch
1. Will Grier, QB West Virginia
2. Kaleb McGary, OT Washington
3. Irv Smith Jr., TE Alabama
Maybe the Bengals won’t be able to draft a top quarterback in the first round, but if Will Grier is sitting there in the second, they could be tempted to take a chance on the West Virginia product — assuming they like him as a prospect.