How will the Bengals use their picks in the 2018 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
The Cincinnati Bengals were annual perennial playoff participants at the beginning of the decade, but have had two straight losing seasons.
Not much has changed in the Queen City, as head coach Marvin Lewis was retained and signed a two-year contract extension, despite an 0–7 playoff record.
Last season, the Bengals' problems started on the offensive side of the ball. They couldn't run the ball (or pass it for that matter), finishing dead last in the NFL in total offense.
Getting an offensive lineman is paramount to help protect whoever will be throwing the ball to A.J. Green, and the team could use some help along the defensive line.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re listing every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Bengals hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 21 (No. 21 overall)
Billy Price, C, Ohio State
Andy Benoit's grade: A-
It’s not a sexy pick, especially with Lamar Jackson, a potential replacement for Andy Dalton, on the board. But it’s a grossly necessary pick. The Bengals have had major problems against interior designer pass rush tactics the past two years, and their O-line got no movement in the ground game last season. With every interior O-lineman in the last year or two of his contract, this lineup could be altered at any spot. And it must—Andy Dalton needs a clean pocket. When he doesn’t have one, his flawed footwork leads to the mechanical breakdowns that cause most of his befuddling incompletions and turnovers.
Scouting Report: Price suffered a torn pectoral at the combine—while he should be healthy by the fall, he’s going to miss valuable offseason work. When healthy, he’s a technician with the toughness and movement skills to fit in just about any scheme. He saw time at center and guard for the Buckeyes, starting all 55 of OSU’s games over the past four seasons.
Round 2, Pick 22 (No. 54 overall):
Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest
Andy Benoit's Grade: B-
Backup safety/slot corner Josh Shaw is a free agent next year, and Shawn Williams is better as a sturdy veteran backup than every-down player. So the Bengals needed to find a running mate for George Iloka. Marvin Lewis rarely plays rookie defensive backs, so don’t be surprised if Bates is given a year or two to develop. It’s a DB-friendly scheme, with a lot of two-deep zone coverage concepts.
Round 3, Pick 13 (No. 77 overall):
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
Andy Benoit's Grade: B
Poor Michael Johnson had to announce the very pick that’s here to replace him. The Bengals hit twice on mid-round pass rushers last year, finding Jordan Willis in the third round and what appears to be an absolute gem in Carl Lawson in the fourth. If Hubbard can rush the passer from inside, he could steal snaps from Johnson right away.
Round 3, Pick 14 (No. 78 overall) [Via Kansas City]:
Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas
Andy Benoit's Grade: C+
Cincinnati, who traded up to draft Jefferson, loves developmental front-seven players—and presumably they see Jefferson as a potential running mate for Vontaze Burfict two or three years from now. It’s worth noting that Preston Brown and Vincent Rey will be free agents after this season.
Round 4, Pick 12 (No. 112 overall): Mark Walton, RB, Miami (Florida)
Round 5, Pick 14 (No. 151 overall): Devontae Harris, CB, Illinois State
Round 5, Pick 21 (No. 158 overall): Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia
Round 5, Pick 33 (No. 170 overall) * compensatory selection: Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan
Round 7, Pick 31 (No. 249 overall): Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo
Round 7, Pick 34 (No. 252 overall) * compensatory selection: Rod Taylor, OL, Mississippi
Round 7, Pick 35 (No. 253 overall) * compensatory selection: Auden Tate, WR, Florida State