After a 4–1 start, the Bengals finished the 2018 season at 6–10 in their final year under head coach Marvin Lewis, who was fired by Cincinnati in December. Lewis Lewis led the Bengals to a 131–122–3 record during his 16 season tenure, including three straight losing seasons without a playoff appearance.
The Bengals selected Ohio State center Billy Price out of the Big Ten with their first pick in last year's draft. With the 11th pick this year, Cincinnati will again be able to take a relatively early first-round pick in 2019. (Check out draft needs for all 32 teams.)
We're breaking down each of the Bengals' selections in this year's NFL draft with grades from The MMQB's Andy Benoit, as well as providing a full list of Cincinnati's picks, which will be updated as the draft continues.
Round 1, Pick 11 (No. 11 overall):
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
Many think that Williams can play guard or tackle in the NFL, which is good because the Bengals need help at both spots. Williams predominantly played left tackle at Alabama, but with Cordy Glenn that is one of just two stable positions along Cincy’s front five (the other is center, which is occupied by last year’s first-rounder Billy Price). So expect Williams to first get a crack at guard. Incumbent left guard Clint Boling and right guard John Miller are both fringe starters, if not merely quality backups. Which means its entirely possible Williams could play right tackle, which is currently manned by Bobby Hart, who is susceptible to the bull rush. Wherever Williams plays, this pick asserts the Bengals remain committed to Andy Dalton. Not only did they leave Dwayne Haskins on the board, but they took a blocker, which Dalton, who is inconsistent in messy pockets, relies on more than most QBs.
Round 2, Pick 20 (No. 52 overall): Drew Sample, TE, Washington
Andy Benoit's grade: B-
This pick addresses a position of need for the Bengals, since Tyler Kroft is now a Bill, injury-prone Tyler Eifert is on a one-year contract and C.J. Uzomah is a backup. Sample is perceived as more of a blocker than a receiver, though a team doesn’t take a tight end in Round 2 if it's not confident that he can do both. In new head coach Zac Taylor’s scheme, Sample’s on-the-move blocking prowess will be key.
Round 3, Pick 8 (No. 72 overall): Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State
Andy Benoit's grade: A-
Cincy’s linebacking corps is grossly lacking. Though weighing 240, not 250-plus, Pratt has the inside thumping style of play that the team sacrificed in dumping Vontaze Burfict. Don’t be surprised if the rookie plays a big role right away.
Round 4, Pick 2 (No. 104 overall): Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
Round 4, Pick 23 (No. 125 overall): Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State
Round 4, Pick 34 (No. 136 overall): Michael Jordan, OG, Ohio State
Round 6, Pick 9 (No. 182 overall): Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
Round 6, Pick 37 (No. 210 overall): Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn
Round 6, Pick 38 (No. 211 overall): Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
Round 7, Pick 9 (No. 223 overall): Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State
See every NFL team's 2019 picks by clicking the links below.
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