With the eleventh pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select…
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Ed Oliver DT | Houston
After sixteen years, the Bengals finally decided to move on from head coach Marvin Lewis and his 0-7 postseason record. With Lewis no longer at the helm, you’d have to imagine that his replacement’s resume looks a lot better, right? Negative. The Bengals hired former Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to be their new head coach. Who? Exactly. The Bengals, like many other teams such as the Cardinals and Packers, are hoping they have found the next young, hot, quarterback whisperer in the mold of Sean McVay. Good luck.
Taylor takes over a Cincinnati team that struggled on both sides of the ball last year and are already being written off to finish at the bottom of a tough AFC North division again next year. Offensively, the Bengals finished 26th in total yards with the only bright spots being running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who each eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in just 14 games. The reason Mixon and Boyd were carrying the load was because they were the only ones on the field. Quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert were all lost during the season to injury. With everyone returning to full health, the Bengals should see their offensive stat line improve. I’m still not sold on this offensive line, but they just drafted center Billy Price last year with the 21st overall pick and traded for Cordy Glenn right before that, while this offseason they brought in guard John Miller from the Bills and resigned right tackle Bobby Hart. Tackle Andre Dillard out of Washington St. would be a nice pick here if they think Glenn is past his prime though. The wild card at this pick is the quarterback position, where the Bengals could be interested in Missouri’s Drew Lock or Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. Haskins is still on the board in this scenario and played his college ball right down the road. Taylor could want to bring in his guy, plus let’s face it, we’ve all seen what Andy Dalton has to offer when healthy and it ain’t much.
Still, despite the offenses struggles last season, the defense was far worse, finishing dead last in yards allowed per game. The secondary looks solid, but you can never rule out a first round cornerback to the Bengals. My focus is on the front seven though, where linebacker was already a weakness before Cincy released Vontaze Burfict. If LSU’s Devin White were still on the board here I think the Bengals need to sprint to the podium. With White off the board however, the next best linebacker available is Michigan’s Devin Bush. There’s not a huge drop off between White and Bush, but with so much other talent on the board I don’t know that I can go with another linebacker this high. If Taylor doesn’t want his quarterback on offense, maybe he wants one on defense. Houston’s Ed Oliver is a top five talent in this draft class. Limited availability and production along with concerns of his size have caused Oliver’s stock to drop a bit, but after his pro day workout I think you have to throw all that out the window. Oliver may seem undersized for his position, but the same was said about the Rams Aaron Donald who has absolutely dominated the league. Pairing Oliver with pro bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins would help improve both the pass rush and help stop the run, two areas where the Bengals could desperately use some improvement.