The Cincinnati Bengals were hit hard by the injury bug last season. With a new coach in town, here is how they can rebound, starting with the 2019 NFL Draft.
It is going to be a strange day the first time the Cincinnati Bengals take the field and Marvin Lewis is not patrolling the sideline. After being there for 15 years, Lewis and the team decided to mutually part ways. The team was then turned over to former Los Angeles Rams quarterback’s coach Zac Taylor. Cincinnati poached Taylor from Sean McVay’s staff in hopes that he can revitalize an offense that features explosive weapons in A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.
The team will have some interesting decisions to make. First and foremost will be what to do with quarterback Andy Dalton. Will Taylor want to bring in “his own guy”? Dalton is due over $16 million this season, the highest paid player on the team, but could be released with no dead money going on the cap. Given the team’s spot in the draft, I expect Dalton to stay in town for at least the 2019 season.
Cincinnati’s offensive line will be hit the hardest by free agency. Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi, Bobby Hart, Andre Smith, Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond will all be potential free agents. The Bengals will likely retain at least one of the first four names to man the tackle spot opposite Cordy Glenn.
Tight end will be a position to watch. Tyler Eifert, when healthy is a fantastic player, but has struggled to stay on the field his entire career. Tyler Kroft is a serviceable back-up and C.J. Uzomah filled in nicely last year. All three are free agents, it will be interesting to watch which, if any, are retained.
Defensively the team will need to negotiate Preston Brown, Darqueze Denard, and Michael Johnson. Of the three, Brown looks the most likely to stay in town given the team’s desperate need at linebacker. That becomes even more evident if they choose to walk away from Vontez Burfict this offseason.
Here is how the Bengals could use the 2019 NFL Draft to improve their roster and get back into competing for playoffs spots in 2019. This mock draft was done using Fanspeak’s On the Clock tool.