The majority of free agency is winding down and attention is turning toward the draft. The Cincinnati Bengals largely remain in the same position they were last month: They still need offensive linemen.
The Bengals gained a left tackle after trading for former Bills LT Cordy Glenn, but they didn't re-sign center Russell Bodine. Right tackle and right guard are still in flux. Now that the Bengals dropped from the No. 12 overall pick to the No. 21 overall pick, taking an interior lineman is more of a possibility than it was if they stayed within the top-15 picks (Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson aside).
But if it came down to a tackle or a center, who would they pick?
The Bengals might be in need of a center, but historically they haven't chosen to go that route early in the draft. They've taken just three centers in the first round, and the last was Dave Rimington with the 25th overall pick in the 1983 draft. Rimington played for the Bengals for five seasons.
Out of the 16 centers they drafted, including Bodine, 12 were taken in the fourth round or later.
McGlinchey, Price, and Daniels all there at 21. Who do they take?— Jason E Wheeler (@Jasonew6) March 22, 2018
NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper considers Iowa center James Daniels and Ohio State center Billy Price the top centers in this year's draft class, while Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey is his second tackle on the board. It's hard to say where Price will be taken after he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle at the NFL scouting combine, which could drop his stock.
The Bengals have always placed a higher emphasis on their tackles than their interior linemen, which is why they took Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft. It's also why they didn't attempt to outbid other suitors when Kevin Zeitler left in free agency last year. Even Nelson said at Notre Dame's Pro Day on Friday that the Bengals were the only team to ask him about potentially moving to tackle.
The most likely plan for the Bengals probably involves moving T.J. Johnson or Trey Hopkins to center next season while taking that position lower in this draft. It's hard to imagine they would pass up a quality tackle like McGlinchey if he was available in the second half of the first round, especially considering Fisher hasn't proven himself yet as a long-term solution at right tackle.