In honor of Senior Bowl week, I did a mock draft on Fanspeak. It's my first one of the season. The "build around Andy Dalton" fans should love it. Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold were all off the board when I was on the clock with the 12th pick. Notre Dame guard Quentin Nelson went third overall. This was a perfect scenario for the Bengals because I was able to land the number one linebacker on most draft boards.
12. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia - This pick was a no-brainer. I'm sure the Bengals would feel the same way on draft night. Smith has the instincts, speed and athleticism you want from your top linebacker. He would be an instant upgrade. Can you imagine him and Vontaze Burfict on the field together? The Bengals would be lucky if he fell this far. It may be farfetched, but it's possible if 3-4 quarterbacks are drafted with the first 11 picks. Feel free to watch a few Smith highlights below.
Smith will help the defense, but what about the dreadful offensive line? Sometimes waiting to address your biggest need pays off and I think it did in this scenario. No, Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey didn’t fall to the 46th pick, but the Bengals we’re able to land the best center in the draft.
46. Billy Price, Center, Ohio State – Marvin Lewis may ask his buddy Mike Zimmer if drafting a center from Ohio State was worth it? Last year, the Vikings took Pat Elflein and he helped turn around their struggling line. It makes sense to snag Price at this point in the draft for a few reasons. He should be an upgrade at center from Russell Bodine. If they did decide to add a center in free agency (including Bodine), they could also put Price at guard. This is the first step to making the offensive line great again! Feel free to watch some of Price’s film below.
In the third round it was time to address the tackle position. Alex Cappa is someone you probably haven’t heard of. Joe Goodberry mentioned him in our Senior Bowl preview podcast and he’s quickly rising up most analysts’ rankings.
77. Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State – I haven’t heard one negative thing about him. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says Cappa “has the nastiest tape” he’s ever seen. Who else thinks the Bengals could use some “nasty” on their offensive line? Cappa is from a small school, but everyone I’ve talked to said he dominated at the Senior Bowl. Cappa is the pick here, as the Bengals continue to build around Dalton.
99. Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State – Some will say the Bengals don’t need a wide receiver, but they opt for one anyway with the compensatory pick they received from Kevin Zeitler’s departure. Gallup was impressive at Colorado State hauling in 176 receptions for 2,690 yards and 21 touchdowns. He doubled down with an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. Why would the Bengals take a receiver? They have more questions than answers at the position. What can John Ross bring to the table? Will Brandon LaFell be back? Can Cody Core contribute on offense? Is Tyler Boyd ready for a bigger role? Watch of a few highlights from this week in Mobile below.
We know how much the Bengals like Georgia players. They snag another one in round four.
114. Trenton Thompson, DL, Georgia – The Bengals scoop up Michael Johnson’s replacement in round four. Thompson has great size at 6’4″ tall and 295 pounds. He could be a good addition to a young defensive line featuring Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson, Andrew Billings and Ryan Glasgow. He’s versatile, which is something the Bengals always look for. The Bengals want to keep Geno Atkins in town for a while. Thompson can be another piece that they can put around him. You can watch some of his film in the video below.
153. Ike Boettger, OT, Iowa – The Bengals need plenty of offensive line help and have never been afraid to draft a player coming off of injury. Boettger suffered an achilles injury last season, but I could see them selecting him in round five. Boettger may not play in 2018, but he may have more long-term potential than any other offensive linemen at this point in the draft.
172. Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida – Griffin is a unique prospect. He only has one hand. He’s also a great athlete. A lot of people liked what they saw at the Senior Bowl. The Bengals value special teamers. I could see Griffin being drafted and becoming a plug-and-play special teamer like former NFL general manager Phil Steele said.
Note: I only did a five round mock draft. I think the Bengals would consider a cornerback, safety and a quarterback in the final two rounds. As we get closer to the draft I’ll expand it to seven rounds.
For more on the Senior Bowl, listen to my interview with Rocky Boiman below.
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