This is my fifth and final mock draft of 2018. The Bengals will likely draft an offensive lineman in round one. I could certainly see a center being the pick. With that said, I've been consistent with my thought process when it comes to the top centers. I've always felt like one would fall to the second round. The Bengals benefit from lineman falling in my final mock draft of the season.
21. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame – I've discussed McGlinchey for weeks. I think he's their guy if he's there at 21. Will he be? Well I expect five quarterbacks, four defensive linemen, two linebackers, two safeties, two running backs, two wide receivers, one cornerback and AT LEAST one offensive lineman – Quenton Nelson to be off the board when the Bengals are on the clock. Could a tight end be drafted in the first 20 picks? What about other interior offensive linemen like Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn? I wasn't sold on the Bengals picking McGlinchey at 12. In fact, I probably would've criticized them for drafting solely for need – he's not the 12th best player in this draft.
Everything changed when they traded back and landed Cordy Glenn. Now, McGlinchey no longer has to play left tackle as a rookie. He can be a piece of the solution, not the solution. You may think it's a stretch for him to fall all the way to 21. Some believe the Bengals should draft the best center available and wait to take a tackle. I get both arguments. I also think Marvin Lewis' squad has had their eyes on McGlinchey for a long time. There is depth at center in this draft. They will get a quality center in rounds 2-3 and they do in this mock. I'd be willing to bet they don't even consider Wynn or Hernandez at 21 because of how they view the guard position. Not every NFL team thinks like them. In fact, I bet some teams believe Wynn is a better prospect than McGlinchey.
You can call it wishful thinking if you want, but I think the Bengals land McGlinchey with the 21st pick. He's the cleanest tackle in the draft. He will be a steady, consistent player for the Bengals in 2018 and for the rest of the Dalton era.
NOTE: IF McGlinchey is gone, I expect the Bengals to take their favorite center. That could be Billy Price from Ohio State or Frank Ragnow from Arkansas. If I was betting, I would throw the money on Ragnow for one, pretty obvious Dave Lapham-sized reason.
Read more about McGlinchey here.
46. Billy Price, C, Ohio State – I've said for months that Price may fall to round two. I stand by that statement. Yes, the Bengals are high on him, but it's a deep class of interior offensive linemen. One of the top centers will still be available on Friday. The Bengals may have to get aggressive to make this happen. Price may not fall all the way to 46. I ran this scenario by Lapham and he said "Merry Christmas big boy. That would be Santa Claus on steroids."
Steroids aren't free. They cost. And that's why the Bengals should consider moving up to pick 39 or somewhere in that range to secure the center that falls. I'm guessing it's Price, but it could be Ragnow or James Daniels. They could try to give up their fourth round pick – 112 overall to get the deal done. Maybe they throw in a fifth or a seventh to sweeten the deal.
Center is the Bengals' biggest need. If a player like McGlinchey falls to 21, they'd be silly to pass on him. It makes even more sense if they take an aggressive approach and try to land another player they considered drafting at 21. Would you give up picks 46, 112 and 249 for Price, Daniels or Ragnow? I would. Heck, I'd probably throw in a fifth or sixth rounder if I needed to to get the deal done. I want "Santa Claus on steroids." The Bengals have been more aggressive this offseason and it continues with a significant day two trade to land a top player.
NOTE: I think trading up from 46 is worth it if it means adding one of the top centers. Drafting Daniels, Ragnow or Price in round two would be a win after landing McGlinchey in round one.
Other targets at pick 46 include Justin Reid from Stanford, Jessie Bates from Wake Forest and Hayden Hurst from South Carolina. A dark horse candidate would be Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, who they brought in for a top 30 visit.
77. Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama – The Bengals have wanted to add a safety all offseason. They like taking Alabama players are are happy to see Harrison at this spot. He has the size they like – 6'2" tall and 207 pounds. He was second-team All-SEC last season. The Bengals probably love his athleticism. He made all sorts of plays at Alabama including three interceptions, five passes defensed and 4.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage last season. This pick makes a lot of sense as the Bengals continue to fill needs, while also taking a player they're high on.
100. Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin – We know how much the Bengals like their corners. Nelson is a perfect heir to Darqueze Dennard's throne at nickel corner, assuming they don't re-sign him next offseason. He had 21 passes defensed last season, but he didn't register any interceptions (I'm having flashbacks to Johnathan Joseph's rookie season with the Bengals). His name has come up in conversation a lot, which leads me to believe the Bengals might be higher on him than others across the league. Nelson would certainly get consideration here if they don't pick a cornerback sooner.
Other targets for round three include Arden Key from LSU, Malik Jefferson from Texas, Derrick Nnadi from Florida State and Orlando Brown from Oklahoma.
I've got a ton of draft stuff on the blog right now including conversations with Dave Lapham and Jim Owczarski. There are links to all of it below:
Vote: Who do you want the Bengals to draft?
I chat with Dave Lapham in our Bengals draft primer.
WATCH: I preview the NFL Draft with George Vogel and Geoff Hobson.
Lapham mentions three centers that are in play for the Bengals.
Check out my latest Bengals mock draft.
Let's revisit a poll question about the Bengals and the Reds.
Subscribe to my new Reds podcast and listen to it here.
Subscribe to the Locked on Bengals Podcast here.
Subscribe to my iHeartRadio channel that includes every episode of Cincy 3:60, interviews with Bengals, my hottest takes of the week & more here.
Email Me: JamesRapien@ESPN1530.com
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