Bengals 2018 Mock Draft

April 20, 2018

I’ve discussed the Bengals’ trade for Cordy Glenn and how it opened up their draft board in the first round. They’ve added a quality lineman and still have 11 picks to improve their roster.

I’ve also made two Bengals draft guarantees – they won’t pick Ohio State center Billy Price with the 21st overall pick. I don’t see a scenario where he’s the best player on their board at 21. I could see them trading back in the first or moving up in the second to land Price if they like him as much as some people say.

The other guarantee is a simple one – if the Bengals had it their way, they would select Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame with the 21st pick and he would start at right tackle in 2018. There’s only one problem with that statement. I don’t think McGlinchey will be there when the Bengals are on the clock.

That leads us to mock draft 4.0. The Bengals are unable to secure any of the top linemen, so they take the best player left, at a position were used to them addressing in round one. I used Fanspeak for this mock, which is something I’ve done all offseason. This would be a best-case scenario for the Bengals. They get the quarterback they want, a top center a round later than some predict. Check out my latest mock draft below:

21. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa – Fans will probably moan and groan about the team adding another corner in round one. The reality is Jackson will make it easier to part ways with Darqueze Dennard and/or Dre Kirkpatrick sooner rather than later. He has good size at 6’1, 192 pounds. His long arms helped him record 27 passes defensed last season. The Bengals want their defense to force more turnovers. Jackson can contribute in that department. He ran a below average 40-yard dash time – 4.56, but he makes plays on the ball and has good instincts for a player that only started 14 games in college. Overall, this may not be the pick fans were hoping for, but McGlinchey, Lamar Jackson and Isaiah Wynn were off the board by the time the Bengals were on the clock. In 2016 they had to ‘settle’ for a corner named Jackson – fans can only hope this pick works out like that one did.

NOTE: I do think James Daniels and Frank Ragnow will be in play at 21. IF they want a center, they may trade back, add their favorite center and an extra third round pick. There is depth at the center position and that’s why I could see them waiting to pick one until day two.

46. Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas – The Bengals would be ecstatic to see Ragnow fall this far. He may be the best center in this draft class. He was a three-year starter for the Razorbacks and would be an instant upgrade at center in Cincinnati. Pro Football Focus gave Ragnow the highest grades a center has ever gotten – 94.5 and 93.7 in 2016 and 2017. PFF also graded Ragnow with the second-highest pass blocking efficiency among centers in this draft class. To read their evaluation of him, go here.

Ragnow has ideal size at 6’5″ and weights 309 pounds. This would be a no brainer if he’s available in round two. Joe Goodberry of The Athletic is a big fan of Ragnow’s game. We’ve talked about him multiple times on the Locked on Bengals podcast.

77. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State – The Bengals need a quarterback and they get the guy they had serious interest in from the beginning. Yes, they brought Lamar Jackson in for a visit, but they used a top 30 visit on Rudolph. He has a great deep ball and thrived on ‘go routes’ at Oklahoma State. He worked out with Andy Dalton in Texas this offseason and would give the Bengals a capable backup in 2018, who has the potential to develop into something more. He has the size teams look for at 6’5″ and 235 pounds. He’s a nice consolation prize and I’m betting the Bengals would be ecstatic to land him in the third round. I discussed the possibility of the Bengals drafting Rudolph and there are clips of him here.

Note: I’d be surprised IF he fell this far. He may fall to the middle of round two, but the Bengals would probably have to trade up to get him.

100. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas – It’s no secret the Bengals need to get more athletic at linebacker. They do that by adding Jefferson at the end of the third round. He has the athleticism needed to cover opposing running backs and tight ends out of the backfield. He should also be able to contribute on special teams as a rookie. You watch him for two minutes and he looks and is built like an NFL linebacker. He’d be a nice addition to a defense that has lacked athleticism. You can watch Jefferson’s combine workout and a few college highlights below:

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*This post was originally posted at ESPN1530.com.

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