The 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, and now we get to welcome all the new faces of the Cincinnati Bengals. Join the Last Word on Pro Football as we break down every Bengals pick, so you don’t have to. Cincy made two trades and ended up with 11 picks in this year’s draft.
- Traded the 12th overall pick and a sixth-round selection (187th overall) along with offensive tackle Cordy Glenn to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for the 21st overall pick and a fifth-round selection (158th overall).
- Traded a second-round (46th overall) and a third-round selection (100th overall) to the Kansas City Chiefs for their second and third-round pics (54th and 78th overall).
With those picks the Bengals selected the following players:
- First Round, 21st overall: Billy Price, offensive guard/center, Ohio State
- Second Round, 54th overall: Jessie Bates III, safety, Wake Forest
- Third Round, 77th overall: Sam Hubbard, edge, Ohio State
- Third Round, 78th overall: Malik Jefferson, linebacker, Texas
- Fourth Round, 112th overall: Mark Walton, running back, Miami (FL)
- Fifth Round, 151st overall: Davontae Harris, cornerback, Illinois State
- Fifth Round, 158th overall: Andrew Brown, defensive tackle, Virginia
- Fifth Round, 170th overall: Darius Phillips, cornerback, Western Michigan
- Seventh Round, 249th overall: Logan Woodside, quarterback, Toledo
- Seventh Round, 252nd overall: Rod Taylor, offensive guard, Ole Miss
- Seventh Round, 253rd overall: Auden Tate, wide receiver, FSU
Cincinnati Bengals 2018 Draft Grade: 8.5/10 B
Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Billy Price
Price is exactly what you look for in an interior offensive lineman. He is versatile, having played both center, and both sides of the offensive guard during his career at Ohio State. He tied former teammate Pat Elflein for a Buckeyes’ record of 55 straight starts. In 2017 he was a unanimous first-team all-American and won the Remington Trophy as the nation’s top center.
Many scouts and teams expected Price to fall into the second round after suffering a pectoral tear during the Combine. Price should be ready to go by training camp though and clearly, the Bengals didn’t have a problem with the injury.
Price should come in and be the starter at center instantly but can play either left or right guard if needed.
The Head-Scratcher: Why Not a Wide Receiver Early?
The Bengals finished 26th in the league in receiving this past season. A lot of that is because of their lack of top end guys at the position. They do still have A.J. Green who is the highlight of this group but lacks depth around him. Last year they spent a first-round pick on John Ross, but he is very injury prone and not proven.
They drafted Tate in the seventh round, but he isn’t looked at as a guy who can make a difference. The one hole they still have on their team heading into training camp is a true number two receiver and a number three player who can help Andy Dalton.
The Surprise: Mark Walton
Walton’s last season at Miami was cut short after an ankle injury sidelined him. That’s why it was a bit of a surprise when he came out as a junior coming off the injury. Still, he is a good back who can provide support in both the run game and in the passing game.
This pick is a surprise because the Bengals still have Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon on the roster. Mixon was a second-round pick a year ago and should win the starting job in training camp this year. However, the number two spot should be up for grabs with Walton and Bernard fighting it out for who will be the guy.
Walton and Bernard have the same skill set but if fully healthy, then Walton is the better back out of the two. He is a player many won’t expect to make a big impact then shines when he gets a chance. Even though Walton was a surprise pick in the draft, he could end up being the number two guy in Cincinnati come the regular season.
The Steal: Auden Tate
During the season Tate was widely considered to be a day two talent but after a horrific Combine performance, his stock plummeted. If you just look at his combine numbers, it shows a story of a very unathletic receiver who shouldn’t be drafted. But if you turn on the film you see a player who is able to win with his size and is a red zone threat.
Due to the lackluster play at quarterback for FSU in 2017, Tate couldn’t produce eye-catching stats as he finished with 40 receptions for 548 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 13.7 yards a carry and averaged a touchdown once every four catches.
His speed and quickness limitations could make finding an NFL role hard for him, but he should be a backup who can be a great red zone threat for a team for years to come. That is great for a seventh-round pick.
Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp: Jessie Bates III
Bates is a very athletic safety who has good ball skills. He has very loose hips and can handle man coverage well. He plays bigger than his size and is an aggressive tackler. All these traits point to a guy who can make an impact right away.
Bates will enter training camp as the number two safety but has a chance to challenge George Iloka for the starting job. The Bengals will be able to give Bates more freedom to roam the backfield and make plays because of his better ball skills and ability to better process and read the quarterback at game speed.
Hubbard was another steal in the third round. He has below average athleticism but makes up for it with is size and football intelligence. Hubbard has good tape, but nothing jumps off the screen at you. He could end up being a consistent starter for years to come.
Jefferson is a very athletic linebacker who lacks the instincts to play middle linebacker. He will most likely need to line up on the weak side where he can most take advantage of his athleticism. He tends to hit the wrong holes way too often and fails to feel upcoming blocks. Because of this it will take some time for him to become an NFL starter but he should be a core special teams player.
Harris is a versatile player who can play either outside corner or safety. He needs to learn how to play with better anticipation to give himself an advantage in route breaks. He has a chance to be a backup corner for the team.
Brown is a very top-heavy player and it shows on tape. His feet are always slower than his body and it causes him to be easily thrown around. He doesn’t have the speed or explosiveness to beat defenders and lacks pass rush ability. Overall, I think he could find a way to being a backup defensive tackle who will have upside because of his size and motor.
Phillips is a ball-hawk corner who has the athletic ability and short area quickness to handle receivers from the slot. He is effective in both zone and man coverage and can anticipate route.
Woodside has potential to be a good NFL backup. He is an undersized quarterback with an average NFL arm but makes up for it with good football I.Q. and above average accuracy.
Taylor is a player who has a chance to provide depth along the offensive line. He will have to compete for a roster spot in training camp though.
Overall, the Bengals did a good job filling the holes on their roster.They have a lot of prospects who have the potential to be starters.They addressed holes at offensive line and in the front seven on defense as well as adding depth in the secondary.