Need a tackle? Cincinnati might have to draft an OG/OT convert
Cincinnati’s needs along the offensive line are well documented.
Just one problem: There’s a good chance that none of the top offensive tackles will still be available when the Bengals are on the clock in Round 1, as pointed out by Cincy Jungle’s Patrick Judis.
Of course, Cincinnati could always reach for a tackle, with massive Minnesota senior Daniel Faalele as a possibility at pick No. 31.
Don’t like the sound of that?
Here are the Bengals other possibilities:
- Trade for one: Blake Jewell of FanNation’s All Bengals mentions Dallas RT La’el Collins as a possibility. The 28-year-old will make $10 million per year over the next three seasons and finished last season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 82.0. So why would Dallas be willing to part ways with Collins? Availability. Collins missed five games last season due to suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, then was briefly benched before reclaiming his starting job. Collins also missed the entire 2020 season with a hip injury that required surgery, and he missed 13 games in 2016 with a foot injury.
- Sign a free agent: The Bengals are in pretty good shape salary cap-wise. Terron Armstead, 30, is the top remaining free agent, according to PFF. After Armstead, though, the pickings get a little slim, as Duane Brown (No. 18) and Morgan Moses (38) are the next-highest rated tackles. That means the demand for those players should be higher.
- Draft a tackle in the third round: Cincinnati is now seeing what teams like Green Bay, Kansas City and any Tom Brady-led team have dealt with over the years: Drafting at or near the bottom of every round is challenging, to say the least. As many as six OTs could go off the board before Cincinnati picks in the first round. After that, only two more tackles are ranked among the top 64 players: Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere (No. 44 in the Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board) and Faalele (No. 53) – and even those two could be gone, as tackle is seen as a premium position. So Cincinnati might have to wait for the next wave of tackles, which starts with Louisiana’s Max Mitchell (No. 92), followed by Washington State’s Abraham Lucas (No. 95), Southern Utah’s Braxton Jones (No. 105) and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker (No. 107). Arizona State’s Kellen Diesch (No. 128) rounds out that tier of offensive tackles.
- Draft an OT who is projected to play as a guard: It’s not ideal, but Cincinnati could draft a player like Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green and move him to tackle, a position he played quite a bit at this past season. Green is actually the same height and a little heavier than Collins was at the 2015 Combine. Green is 6-foot-4, 323; Collins was 6-foot-4, 305 pounds. But Green is considered one of the top interior linemen after the junior played every position last season but center and therefore could go before pick No. 31. Boston College guard Zion Johnson (6-foot-3, 312) is another first-round possibility, if available. Johnson played tackle this past season but, like Green, is seen as a guard at the next level.
The last option may be Cincinnati’s only hope if it wants to draft a rookie who would start right away.
There are plenty of tackles in this draft who are projected to move to guard.
After Green and Johnson is Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard (No. 51), Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer (No. 68), Wisconsin’s Logan Bruss (No. 79), Central Michigan’s Luke Goedeke (No. 84) and UCLA’s Sean Rhyan (No. 91). All played tackle in college but are expected to move to guard in the NFL.
At least the team has taken measures to shore up the interior of its line after the recent signings of guard Alex Cappa and center Ted Karras.
Of course, Cincinnati wouldn’t be in such desperate need of a tackle if Clemson OT Jackson Carman had shown much as a rookie. Instead, Carman was moved to guard, then was on the bench for 86 percent of the team’s offensive snaps last season and is currently listed as the third-string guard. Carman was drafted with the 46th overall pick last year.
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