The NFL Draft is a pivotal moment for every team, providing an opportunity to bolster their roster with fresh, young talent. For Cincinnati Bengals fans, the 2018 draft is particularly intriguing, as the team looks to address key areas and build a stronger, more competitive squad. In this article, we will delve into various mock drafts and expert opinions to explore potential picks and strategies that the Bengals may employ in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Addressing the Offensive Line: One of the most pressing needs for the Bengals heading into the 2018 draft is strengthening their offensive line. The team struggled to protect quarterback Andy Dalton and create running lanes for their backs in the previous season. Potential picks in the mock drafts include Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey and Texas’ Connor Williams, both of whom are highly regarded offensive tackles that could provide immediate help upfront.
- Bolstering the Defense: The Bengals also need to address their defense, particularly at linebacker and in the secondary. In several mock drafts, experts have linked the team to players like Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans. Both are athletic linebackers with the versatility to make an impact in both the run and pass game. Additionally, the team could also look at cornerbacks like Ohio State’s Denzel Ward or Iowa’s Josh Jackson to strengthen their secondary.
- Finding Skill Position Players: While the Bengals have some talented skill position players, adding more playmakers to the mix could help take the offense to the next level. Wide receivers like Alabama’s Calvin Ridley or SMU’s Courtland Sutton have been popular picks in mock drafts, as they could provide Dalton with another reliable target alongside A.J. Green. Additionally, the team could also consider a running back like LSU’s Derrius Guice or Georgia’s Sony Michel to form a dynamic duo with Joe Mixon.
- Late-Round Steals: In addition to their early-round picks, the Bengals could also find value in the later rounds of the draft. Players like Western Michigan’s Chukwuma Okorafor or Miami’s Braxton Berrios have been highlighted in mock drafts as potential steals, providing depth and talent at key positions without a high draft pick investment.
Conclusion: The 2018 NFL Draft presents an excellent opportunity for the Cincinnati Bengals to address their needs and build a stronger, more competitive team. By focusing on key areas such as the offensive line, defense, and skill position players, the team can take a significant step forward. With the insights provided by various mock drafts and expert opinions, Bengals fans have plenty to be excited about as the draft approaches.
Remember, this article is based on a hypothetical scenario and the players mentioned are examples based on their standing during the 2018 pre-draft period. The actual 2018 NFL Draft had different outcomes.