NFL teams and scouts absolutely love Quenton Nelson. He's viewed as an elite prospect. He's a guard, so he may have trouble being chosen in the top five, though it's not completely impossible. He's viewed as the next Logan Mankins, so I'll be surprised if he's not taken in the initial 10 selections.
The Bengals could certainly take Nelson. They have severe offensive line concerns, so they need to spend multiple early picks on new blockers.
Pick change; previously Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
Rd. 2, Pk. 7
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
No one should be surprised if the Bengals double up on offensive linemen in the first couple of rounds in the 2018 NFL Draft, based on how the blocking unit has performed.
Rd. 3, Pk. 15
Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
Cincinnati's defense hasn't been the same since losing Reggie Nelson. George Iloka and Shawn Williams are OK players, but neither is the elite talent the Bengals are used to having in the back end.
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.
It seems like the Bengals gamble to let Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler walk while not finding proper replacements proved to be a dumb idea. McGlinchey can come in right away and replace the underwhelming Cedric Ogbuehi who has never looked the part of a former first rounder. Notre Dame has been an offensive line factory in recent years and McGlincey is the next stud to come out of there.
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.
After firing Zampese, Dalton has look leagues better than before. Granted, he was playing against Green Bay and Cleveland, but it's still enough to hold Cincinnati off from picking a QB early. Instead, they opt to take an OT to replace their currently awful ones. Williams is another stud tackle, and could surpass Adams by the end of the year.
The Bengals need more offensive line talent. If they take a left tackle in the 2018 NFL Draft, they could kick Cedric Ogbuehi inside to be the replacement for Kevin Zeitler. <br> <br>
Adams showed some rust in Week 1 and wasn't as dominant against Rutgers as he finished last season versus Alabama. Against Rutgers, Adams had a holding penalty along with a couple of other mistakes. Still, he showed his quick feet and agility. Adams is a smooth mover with length who makes it tough to get by him. He plays with nice body lean and leverage that he uses to help sustain blocks. Adams will probably start overwhelming defenders in the weeks to come. <br> <br>
Adams was one of the top left tackles in the Pac-12 during 2016. The Huskies fielded a potent passing offense, and Adams did a nice job of keeping Jake Browning protected. The 6-foot-7, 302-pound Adams has length and size on the edge to go along with good quickness and athleticism. Sources have raved about Adams being one of the top talents for the 2018 NFL Draft class with franchise left tackle potential. They were impressed with his 2016 tape, including how well he did in one-on-ones with Alabama's edge rushers in the Huskies' playoff game.