With the ninth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select…
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB | Alabama
Damn this mock draft is getting hard. Cincinnati can go so many different directions with pick number 9 come April 27th. The Bengals offensive line got noticeably worse this offseason after Kevin Zeitler left for Cleveland and veteran left tackle/locker room leader Andrew Whitworth went to the Rams. You can argue the Bengals were prepared for this, having drafted tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in 2015, but neither has made their presence felt thus far on that offensive line. A guy like Alabama’s Cam Robinson is projected to be a top right guard/right tackle in the NFL and could step in day one for Cincinnati, while also providing some depth at left tackle if Ogbuehi struggles. Not to mention Robinson also has the character concerns Cincy covets. Cincinnati added some depth by bringing back offensive lineman Andre Smith and Eric Winston so perhaps they feel comfortable with the crew they have. Andy Dalton was sacked 41 times last season, second most in his 6 years in the league. I’m just saying.
Things got harder for Dalton once pro bowl receiver AJ Green went down, so perhaps some help on the outside is needed. A receiver like Clemson’s Mike Williams or Western Michigan’s Corey Davis could be in play, though the Bengals are probably expecting last year’s second round pick Tyler Boyd to step up. Just a fun fact I noticed, the Bengals have rotated between offensive and defensive players with their first round pick through the last 6 drafts and after grabbing cornerback William Jackson in round 1 last year, history says they go offense this year. The Bengals have been linked to running backs Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon but with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard already in the backfield I think they should look elsewhere.
Defensively the Bengals could use depth in the front seven with a pass rusher or linebacker. Perhaps they grab a defensive end such as Michigan’s Taco Charlton or Tennessee’s Derek Barnett. I can tell you if a guy like Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas falls the Bengals would be all over them. After the release of longtime middle linebacker Rey Maualuga though, there is now a void at linebacker next to Vontaze Burfict. Rebuen Foster is a thumper and a top ten talent who the Bengals would be thrilled to plug in to lead their defense. Foster also apparently has character concerns which makes him perfect for the Bengals.