BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 22: Devin White #40 of the LSU Tigers reacts during a game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The 2019 draft will be crucial to the Cincinnati Bengals success moving forward. With the 11th pick in the draft, the Bengals have plenty of options.

Cincinnati has never been one for going out and making moves to improve their roster. This free agency period has been more of the same for Bengals fans. Cincinnati re-signed slot corner, Darqueze Dennard, tight ends Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah, linebacker Preston Brown, and offensive tackle Bobby Hart. In addition to these moves, the Bengals went out and signed guard John Miller from the Buffalo Bills and corner B.W. Webb from the New York Giants. Cincinnati did finally release the polarizing, often injured and suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Options For The Cincinnati Bengals’ First Round Draft Pick

The 2019 NFL draft is primed to address the Bengals needs as well as provide depth at many positions. Cincinnati has 11 draft picks to primarily fill holes at linebacker and offensive tackle. They will also work to find future stars at quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end, and cornerback. There are three players the Bengals should target with their first-round pick:

Devin White, Linebacker, LSU

The most common name passed around for the Bengals pick at 11 is the monster linebacker from LSU. Many mock drafts have White going sooner to teams like the Oakland Raiders or Denver Broncos. If he were to fall to the Bengals, it would be a no-brainer. In the past, the Bengals’ strategy for early round picks was to pick the best player available. White would easily be the best player available at 11 and would provide Cincinnati with a potential day 1 starter in a much-maligned linebacker core. The Bengals best linebacker in the last decade was Vontaze Burfict. Unfortunately, he was off the field more often than he was on it. With the release of Burfict, the Bengals have committed to a culture change with the new coaching staff, so they need a leader.

T.J. Hockenson, Tight End, Iowa

Bengals fans love Tyler Eifert, there is no denying. Despite knowing that they re-signed him, the fact is that Eifert has not been anything close to his 2015 season where he caught 13 touchdowns. No matter how talented he is, Eifert has never played a full season and has appeared in more eight games only twice (2013 and 2015). He has only played in six games in the last two seasons. The Bengals need a tight end who can come in right away and provide Andy Dalton with a dynamic threat. In 2018, the Bengals were down to their 4th and 5th tight ends, both of whom were practice squad guys. Hockenson is a big tight end who can block and run routes. Want the next Rob Gronkowski or George Kittle? Look no further!

Note: Noah Fant, Hockenson’s former teammate at Iowa, would also be a great pick for the Bengals, but they could trade back and acquire more picks.

Jonah Williams, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

The Bengals’ offensive line is among the worst in the NFL. One major reason for this is inconsistency. While they will be getting Cordy Glenn back from injury, Bobby Hart has always been a question mark, so the Bengals should look at getting a guy who could supplant him in the starting lineup. Williams has been a massive force for the Alabama offensive line and was an integral part of the Heisman-worthy season by their QB Tua Tagovailoa. In 2018, Jonah Williams did not allow a single sack. Andy Dalton has proven that he is a completely different player when he has time in the pocket and gains confidence. Williams would provide the Bengals with a versatile tackle who could play on either side of the line.

Alternatives

The Bengals have plenty of choices at 11. Some players that the Bengals could look at if none of these are available are Devin Bush, a linebacker from Michigan, edge rushers Ed Oliver (Houston), or Clelin Ferrell (Clemson). In the past, coaching changes have resulted in a quarterback change. If Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) or Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) fall to them, would it be too good to pass up?

The Last Word

The 2019 Cincinnati Bengals have the potential to compete for the AFC North, despite the emergence of Cleveland Browns’ and Baltimore Ravens’ young quarterbacks. Not to mention the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers are always great. They also have the potential to continue with the last three years and get a top-12 draft pick. In recent years, the Bengals’ front office has not drafted well. So, if the Bengals take this advice and work on building the linebacker core and re-tooling the offensive line, the Bengals could challenge for a playoff berth.

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