Mel Kiper mock draft 2.0: Bengals start rebuilding their offensive line

Adding UCLA's Kolton Miller in the draft could keep the Bengals from having a revolving door at left tackle. Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has the Cincinnati Bengals going with a safe pick in his second mock draft of 2018.

Kiper has the Bengals selecting UCLA tackle Kolton Miller with the No. 12 overall pick, reversing course from his first mock draft, in which he projected Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds to Cincinnati.

While linebacker does remain a need for the Bengals, the offensive line should the priority No. 1.

The Bengals haven't made it a secret that they want to address the offensive line, but just how far they will go does remain a question at this point. The franchise hired a new offensive line coach, but it's unclear if they've declared the Cedric Ogbuehi experiment over yet. The 2015 first-round pick will be a free agent in 2019 if the team declines to pick up his contract. Complicating matters even more is the status of 2015 second-round pick Jake Fisher, who was placed on IR with a heart issue in November.

The Bengals don't have anyone currently waiting in the wings to step up at either tackle position, and after two losing seasons that saw the team allow a combined 80 sacks, they can't afford to have a rotating door at tackle anymore, or at guard for that matter. With center Russell Bodine a pending free agent, the only secure position on the line appears to be left guard Clint Boling, who actually played well when moved to left tackle due to injuries late in the season.

However, Boling isn't the long-term answer at left tackle, and Ogbuehi isn't either. Eventually, the Bengals are going to have to address that position.

At 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds, Miller certainly has the size and frame to play tackle, but it's not clear whether he could project best on the left or right side in the NFL. His experience on the left side is limited. Miller started all 13 games at left tackle for UCLA in 2017 and was named second-team All-Pac-12 before declaring for the draft after his junior season. That was his only full season playing left tackle., however He started the first five games of his sophomore season at right tackle but missed the rest of the year because of a foot injury.

The Bengals have taken six offensive linemen in the first two rounds since 2003. Of those six, three contributed right away (Eric Steinbach, Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler). The other three (Andre Smith, Ogbuehi and Fisher) combined for two starts in their rookie seasons.