CINCINNATI -- It's never too early for a mock draft is it?
OK, OK, after the last two months I'm sure you're burnt out by mock draft-mania. Believe me, I am, too. But in case you're up for a little far-too-early 2015 draft speculation, then this post is for you. So is this from draft analyst Todd McShay. In it, he takes his insanely early stab at what the first round of next year's draft class might look like.
I do agree -- as I'm sure he would -- that it's far too early to predict any of this stuff with any kind of accuracy, but it does make for fun offseason banter. Besides, scouts for the Cincinnati Bengals and the other 31 teams have already started sitting down and taking a cursory look at a few players who might comprise their next draft class. Just like that, another draft cycle begins anew.
So who does McShay think the Bengals might take next spring?
More importantly, at what spot does he think they'll be drafting?
Technically, it's not about where McShay thinks the Bengals will be drafting. It's about where Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders expects them to be drafting. Using Schatz's predicted win totals and tiebreaker scenarios for every team, the Bengals are expected to pick at No. 22 following a 9-7 campaign in 2015.
If the Bengals pick at No. 22, McShay says they'll be taking South Carolina offensive tackle Corey Robinson. At 6-foot-8, 341 pounds, he is a massive lineman who is expected to be one of the best in the SEC. If he is drafted in the first round by the Bengals, his selection would fit certain criteria that they like: He plays in the SEC.
Robinson also would be the third offensive lineman drafted by the Bengals in seven drafts if he gets selected there next year. In 2012 Cincinnati drafted Kevin Zeitler at No. 27 after a draft-day trade. In 2009, they picked up Andre Smith No. 6 overall out of Alabama.
Tackle could very well be a position of need for the Bengals this time next year. Surprisingly, they failed to draft an offensive tackle last weekend, opting instead to use center Russell Bodine as their lone offensive line draftee. Two other linemen, tackle Curtis Feigt and guard Trey Hopkins, were added to the roster as undrafted free agents earlier this week.
The tackle position could become an area of concern for the Bengals now that reserve Anthony Collins has signed elsewhere and Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth is getting up in age. The 32-year-old may have had one of his best seasons last year, but he still is nearing the inevitable end to his career. When that day comes -- he still has two years remaining on his contract -- the Bengals want to be ready to absorb his loss.
And that's why they could think offensive tackle in the first round.