The most obvious weak spot on the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals was on the interior line. The failures of the guards in particular have been well-documented here and elsewhere. If Cincinnati hopes to go beyond the Wild Card round, they will have to address this weakness this off season.
The Bengals finished the season with veteran Nate Livings and free agent signee Mike McGlynn. McGlynn took over for Bobbie Williams after he broke his ankle late in the season. After Williams went down, there was a noticeable drop off in the team's ability to run between the tackles and keep a clean pocket for Andy Dalton.
Livings, McGlynn and Williams are all unrestricted free agents. None are likely to return. Otis Hudson played some in spots, but was mostly inactive all season. He's young, so the Bengals might keep him around for depth. Clint Boling who was drafted in the fourth round last year will be given a shot at a starting position, but aside from that, the Bengals will completely retool the position.
They tried through free agency before this season. Deuce Latui was signed from Arizona but failed his physical. Max Jean-Gilles came over from the Eagles, but didn't make it through camp. Carl Nicks of the Saints and Jake Scott of the Titans might be available, but other than that there's not much out there in free agency.
With two first round picks, the Bengals could get a guard with one of them. The top target would be Stanford's David DeCastro, but most mock drafts have him off the board before the Bengals pick at 17. Clint Boling's former teammate at Georgia, Cordy Glenn could be there. Glenn started all four years while at UGA, ranking second in all-time starts in school history. He was selected as an offensive captain and ended up being voted first team all-SEC and third team All-American. At 6'5" and 335 pounds, he carries a load as a run blocker, but has excelled in Georgia's passing offense.
If they miss on either of those in the first round, I really like Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele, a 6'6" 347 pounder who can absolutely steamroll in the running game, but has good feet for his size. He has an incredible wingspan as well.
The Bengals need a starter at guard out of this draft, however. Look for them to do whatever is necessary to get either DeCastro or Glenn in the first round and possibly draft at the position again in later rounds for depth.Tags: Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Clint Boling, Football, NFL