Round 1, No. 11 overall: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
My take: It's no surprise the Bengals didn't take all of their allotted time with their pick of offensive linemen available. They got their guy. Selecting Williams gives the Bengals flexibility to craft their offensive line to their liking, and that's key after several years of struggling to fix the unit. Williams played tackle at Alabama and it's possible he could transition to tackle in the NFL, but he could slide over to guard as well if the Bengals need him to play there right away.
"He's played three years in the best conference in all of football (SEC), did a great job at left tackle for them, certainly can play guard -- he's got great flexibility. He enables us to get our five best linemen on the field," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said.
A future left tackle? It might not happen right away, but the Bengals might be eyeing Williams as their left tackle of the future. Taylor said they already have a plan in place for him. Right now, that just means to get him in the building and find him a spot, but the future could be even brighter. Right now Cordy Glenn is the starting left tackle and newly re-signed Bobby Hart could start at right tackle, but that might not always be the case.
"He's got three years of tape to prove that he can compete against the best, and [left tackle is] his most natural position. He's done a great job there, but he gives us a lot of flexibility," Taylor said.
A driven mindset: The Bengals loved Williams' character and said he's an A-plus addition to the locker room, so there's no doubt they loved a story from his childhood. Williams walked 15 minutes to school in seventh grade and said he would wait outside the door of the weight room until they let him in. He said he always has been driven to be better than anyone else. Later, he built a weight room in the basement of the house he grew up in so he could work out anytime.
"I was walking to my middle school weight room at 5 in the morning trying to get workouts in, in seventh grade. That's just kind of who I am -- I'm just driven to do that," he said.
Round 2, No. 52 overall: Drew Sample, TE, Washington
My take: The Bengals didn't exactly address their needs in the second round when they took tight end Drew Sample instead of targeting a linebacker. Sample is an in-line tight end who's a good blocker but it's questionable whether he's going to contribute as a pass-catcher. It leaves the question as to whether the Bengals made the best choice considering they have a few adequate tight ends on the roster behind Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah. However, Sample did come on as a pass-catcher in his final season at Washington, catching 25 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns, so the potential is there.
Washington tight end Drew Sample is a reliable receiver with outstanding ball skills.
Germaine Pratt is a rangy run defender out of NC State who closes well, takes sound pursuit angles and chases with good effort.
Round 3, No. 72 overall: Germaine Pratt, OLB, NC State
My take: The Bengals finally addressed one of their most pressing needs by taking Pratt. The Bengals failed miserably at linebacker last season, partly because Preston Brown, Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict were all hurt for various portions of 2018. Burfict was released earlier this spring, so someone will have to step into his spot. Pratt is a former safety who transitioned to linebacker and says his versatility is one of his strengths. The Bengals say they don't have a set position for him yet, but considering the struggles of the backup linebackers last season, he has a shot to get playing time right away.
Ryan Finley is a tall and lean quarterback from NC State who has fast eyes and gets through his progressions quickly.
Round 4, No. 104 overall: Ryan Finley, QB, North Carolina State
My take: Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel's position certainly wasn't secure after the Bengals brought in a new coaching staff, and his position is even more shaky after the Bengals traded up six spots in the fourth round to get North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley. This likely doesn't mean anything for Andy Dalton at the moment, as he still has two years remaining on his deal. The Bengals have been adamant that Dalton is their guy for now, but he needs to have a solid year to keep that status. For now, Finley can learn behind Dalton and give them options next year.
Round 4, No. 125 overall: Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State
My take: The Bengals' defensive line is in the process of evolving, which is why the Bengals considered looking at the position as early as the first round. Wren is a big nose tackle who the Bengals have already nicknamed "Mt. Wren." He could slide into the interior rotation with players like Ryan Glasgow, Christian Ringo and Andrew Billings, along with their best interior rusher, Geno Atkins.
Michael Jordan is an offensive lineman from Ohio State, who was named second-team all-Big Ten in 2018.
Round 4, No. 136 overall: Michael Jordan, C-G, Ohio State
My take: The Bengals stayed aggressive in the fourth round, shedding some of their later picks to first trade up and get Finley, and then again to get Jordan. He joins former Ohio State teammate Billy Price, who was taken in the first round by the Bengals last season. This continues to give them the flexibility they want to put the best five offensive linemen on the field, as Jordan played guard for two years for the Buckeyes before taking Price's place at center. The Bengals' continued investment in offensive linemen shows they're serious about trying to fix the position.
Trayveon Williams is a tough, undersized, versatile back with proven production in one of the toughest conferences in college football.
Round 6, No. 182 overall: Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
My take: The Bengals needed a third running back after Mark Walton was released because of off-the-field issues. Williams can play a variety of roles, including kick returner. He rushed for 1,760 yards and 18 touchdowns last year in addition to catching 27 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown. At 5-8, 206 pounds, the main concern would be how his size translates to the NFL.
Round 6, No. 210 overall: Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn
My take: The Bengals will take all the linebackers they can get at this point, although Davis is more of a project this late in the draft. He had 102 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two pass breakups in 2018. Davis comes with experience after starting three straight seasons at middle linebacker for Auburn. He was considered a solid tackler in college with a high football IQ.
Round 6, No. 211 overall: Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
My take: The Bengals surprised by taking two running backs in this draft instead of going for a wideout. Anderson has had a long history of injuries that derailed his 2015, 2016 and 2018 seasons. It's hard to know what to make of the pick with that in consideration. His 1,161 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017 were certainly impressive, but right now, it seems the Bengals chose the pick based on potential. That makes sense for a pick this far down, but it's hard to know where exactly Anderson fits in with the rest of the running back group.
Round 7, No. 223 overall: Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State
My take: Cornerback was no longer a major need after the Bengals re-signed Darqueze Dennard and added B.W. Webb in free agency. However, Brown could compete for a backup spot. His eight career interceptions stand out, including six in the past two seasons. With 10 total picks in 2019, it's going to be hard for him to crack the roster without a stellar training camp.