Tackle Mike McGlinchey is a strong possibility, but Derwin James seems more like the sort of pick the Bengals would make. Besides, it's not like James wouldn't fill a need. Cincinnati's defense has not been the same since losing Reggie Nelson, so an upgrade at safety would take the stop unit back to a playoff-caliber level.
Rd. 2, Pk. 14
Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
No one should be surprised if the Bengals double up on offensive linemen in the first few rounds in the 2018 NFL Draft, based on how the blocking unit has performed.
Rd. 3, Pk. 13
Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
Multiple upgrades on the offensive line are needed, as mentioned earlier. The situation is so bad at tackle that the Bengals could double up on the position early in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Rd. 3, Pk. 36
Jaylen Samuels, FB, N.C. State
The Bengals should give Andy Dalton more weapons, and they can't count on Tyler Eifert ever playing extensive action again.
Rd. 4, Pk. 12
Austin Corbett, OT/C, Nevada
Here's yet another offensive line upgrade for the Bengals, who desperately need to improve their blocking.
Pick change; previously Jaylen Samuels, TE
Rd. 5, Pk. 14
B.J. Hill, DT/3-4DE/NT, N.C. State
The Bengals could use another interior presence on their defensive line, so I could see them spending a mid-round pick on a defensive tackle.
Pick change; previously Austin Corbett, C
Rd. 5, Pk. 33
Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
The Bengals have several young receivers, but none of them have shown anything yet, so they could add a wideout in the middle rounds.
Cincinnati needs an edge rusher to pair with Carlos Dunlap. I think the Bengals would be very happy to have Solomon Thomas here, but he's off the board. There is a lot of chatter that the Bengals love John Ross, and he would make sense as their offense.
Ross (5-11, 188) was a very productive wideout for Washington in 2016 with 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. For the NFL, he will have to fit as a speedy, shifty slot receiver as he is very undersized. If Ross can add some weight, he could be a Brandin Cooks-type receiver. Otherwise, Ross might be more similar to Sterling Shepard or Tavon Austin. Ross has good hands, route-running, and is fast. He could be a mismatch weapon as a slot receiver.
As a sophomore (17-371-4) and freshman (16-208-1) Ross contributed some, but the junior took on a bigger role in 2016.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
The Bengals could use some young linebacker talent and another edge rusher across from Carlos Dunlap. Bowser addresses both needs.
In 2016, Bowser had 47 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted. He was a tough edge rusher for Houston. Bowser could fit as a 3-4 outside or inside linebacker, and he could play inside on run downs and move to rush off the edge in passing situations. In a 4-3 defense, Bowser (6-2, 244) would fit as a Sam - strongside - linebacker and could rush off the edge in obvious passing situations.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Dawuane Smoot, DE/3-4OLB, Illinois
The Bengals grab another edge rusher for their defense.
During the fall, there was a good amount of hype about Smoot as a few ESPN draft analysts projected him among the top-10 prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. In speaking with multiple NFL teams, they say they initially graded Smoot as a late first-rounder before lowering him into the middle region of Day 2. Smoot totaled 56 tackles and 15 for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted in 2016.
Sources say that Smoot is very athletic and explosive off the edge. However, they feel the 6-foot-2, 255-pounder, despite being strong for his size, is more disruptive than productive, and that could be the case for him in the NFL. They believe Smoot is the kind of player who will place a lot of pressure on the quarterback, but net only a few sacks. Starting across from Jihad Ward in 2015, Smoot had a strong junior season as he totaled eight sacks with 15 tackles for a loss, 40 tackles, two passes batted and three forced fumbles.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU
The Bengals could use multiple linebackers as they have a few veterans entering free agency after this season.
In 2016, Beckwith totaled 91 tackles with six for a loss, one sack and four passes broken up. He played well in 2015 for LSU as a physical in-the-box presence. On the year, the junior totaled 84 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and a pass batted. As a sophomore, he had 77 tackles with three pass breakups, two sacks and an interception.
Beckwith (6-2, 243) was a strong tackler and good at taking on blocks in college. He needs to improve his pass-coverage skills for the NFL though, but teams really liked him before he got injured.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Tyler Orlosky, C, West Virginia
The Bengals could consider some interior offensive line competition after losing Kevin Zeitler.
Orlosky is good in the ground game and generally reliable in pass protection. The 6-foot-2, 292-pounder could develop into a starting center in the NFL. He isn't overly strong, but gets in good position and is an angle blocker.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan
The Bengals could use some interior defensive line depth and competition.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Deangelo Yancey, WR, Purdue
The Bengals could target multiple receivers in the 2017 NFL Draft and have shown interest in Yancey.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Rayshawn Jenkins, S, Miami
The Bengals could use some safety depth and competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Dan Skipper, OT, Arkansas
The Bengals get some right tackle more depth as Andre Smith will probably start with Cedric Ogbuehi or Jake Fisher moving to guard.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Josh Thornton, CB, Southern Utah
The Bengals get more secondary depth and hosted Thornton.
Cincinnati's offensive line was a real weakness this season, and the team really missed Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth. Here's a replacement for Whitworth who will help to pave the way for Joe Mixon for many years to come and provide better edge pass protection.
McGlinchey blocked well for Notre Dame overall in 2017, less a few rough plays versus Miami and Georgia. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder is a tough run blocker and was part of a good Notre Dame line for years. The senior has good enough feet and athletic ability to get depth in his kick slide and cut off speed rushers. As a run blocker, he can get movement at the point of attack. McGlinchey flashes heavy hands to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes for his back. He also has a nice ability to bend at the knee, and that in combination with his feet, keeps him from having to reach after edge rushers. McGlinchey uses his strength to sustain blocks and has developed good hand placement. His performance in 2017 and 2016 protecting Notre Dame's quarterbacks is evidence that he is a future starting left tackle in the NFL and a first-round pick. <br> <br>
McGlinchey was very impressive at left tackle for the Fighting Irish in 2016. He looked natural in pass protection, and one wouldn't have thought that he wasn't playing the position before last season. In 2015, McGlinchey showed well as a right tackle and displayed a more physical style of play than former Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The main area that McGlinchey really needed to improve was his repeated problem with false starts as a junior. McGlinchey seems to have fixed that as a senior.
Even though I am not a huge fan of his the consensus among analysts and scouts is that Williams will still be the first tackle taken off the board. Which, scares me since it is more based on potential than actual good production on the field. He has the athleticism to be a stand out left tackle, but I worry about his knees, technique, and strength to hold up at the next level. Maybe with proper coaching he could turn into the player everyone expects him to be. The Bengals could really use him at left tackle to allow them to kick Cedric Obueghi to the inside where he is a much better pick.
Last Mock Pick: Arden Key DE LSU
It's not as though Cincinnati didn't have active preparation to begin replacing the likes of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth on the offensive line; they have drafted somewhat heavily on OL in recent years. It's just that the likes of Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher have either been banged up or overwhelmed at the pro level, and with the talent Cincinnati still possesses, they're starting to watch whatever window they had slip away.
With that, Cincinnati's top priority will be to obtain viable starters on the OL, particularly at tackle to move Clint Boling back inside. Orlando Brown actually, in my book, ticks the most boxes for the Bengals in that sense; he's a bit tall for a tackle but he plays harder than nearly any other OL in this draft, and if they don't believe Brown can be a viable LT, well, he still can fit at one of the G positions; if one of Ogbuehi or Fisher can finally emerge alongside Brown, then maybe Marvin Lewis (for however long he has left) can trudge back through to the playoffs.
This is high for a guard, but Nelson is among the top prospects in this draft class. Cincinnati's offensive line has been a real weakness this season, and the team has really missed Kevin Zeitler along with Andrew Whitworth. Here's a blocker to pave the way for Joe Mixon for many years to come.
Nelson has been exceptional in 2017, dominating opponents on a weekly basis. He has superb strength to blast open holes and is a true road-grader as a run blocker. As a pass protector, Nelson is very athletic with balance, agility, and quickness to shut down pass-rushers. Some league sources say that Nelson is the highest graded guard they've ever scouted, and that includes the likes of Logan Mankins and David DeCastro. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Nelson was dominant in 2016 as well, showing strength at the point of attack to open holes in the ground game and athleticism in pass protection. Last year, teams sources told me that Nelson was receiving first-round grades prior to him deciding to return for his senior year. One general manager told me this fall that they have Nelson as clearly the best guard prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. They have Nelson as a top-five prospect at any position.
Safety isn't the biggest need for the Bengals, but James is much better of a prospect than any offensive lineman aside from maybe Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. However, Cincinnati has been one of the better drafting teams over the last decade, and it isn't good value to take a guard this high in Round 1. The 2013 NFL Draft gave everyone that lesson with Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack. You could even include epic bust Luke Joeckel and Justin Pugh considering they both now play guard. Passing on the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Le'Veon Bell and Travis Kelce for a guard was a painful mistake. Here, the Bengals can go best player available and still land one of the top two or three players in the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
James has 50 tackles with five passes batted in 2017. While he didn't have flawless performances against Alabama and N.C. State this season, they were impressive overall. James was healthy and able to display his great instincts and rare combination of great size, speed, physicality and versatility. He played dime linebacker, nickel corner, free safety and strong safety, basically doing everything a coach could ask of him. <br> <br>
James totaled 11 tackles and an interception through two games in 2016 before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. He had been playing well for Florida State. Entering last season, there was a lot of hype that James was an elite player and perhaps the best defensive player in college football. As a freshman in 2015, he had a strong debut with 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles, but zero interceptions. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder has a great athletic skill set with tremendous speed, instincts, and strength to hit. He shows the ability to do everything an NFL safety is needed to do. James is fast and long with coverage skills in the deep middle of the field. He also is strong enough to be the eighth man in the box and tackle.