Let’s take a moment to consider the value of free agency before examining the guards. Let’s say the Bengals add a starting-caliber guard and perhaps even a safety and a wideout once free agency begins. Then, the team will enter the draft with no glaring holes (outside of running back), and will be able to take the best available player whenever their pick arrives. It would be a perfect situation to be in, so let’s hope the Bengals can do just that. Here are a few guards that might be good fits for the Bengals.
1) Jacob Bell – Bell, who played left guard in St. Louis last season, would be an immediate upgrade over Nate Livings. Plus, Bell played college ball at Miami of Ohio so he might be willing to return home. Yes, Cincinnati could still use some help at the right guard position, but with Otis Hudson (who the team thinks highly of) and Clint Boling already on the roster, there would be some options available. Plus, it would eliminate the need to draft two guards in the draft, opening up other positions.
2) Jake Scott – Scott played with the Titans last year and they may decide to keep him with a younger quarterback likely to take over a run-heavy offense. ScoutsInc. rates him as the 21st best guard in the league, so he’s got some ability even though he’s a bit smaller than the Bengals usually prefer (he weighs in at 292). Scott also gets points from me for having a spectacular beard.
It’s also worth noting that Carl Nicks, a New Orleans Saint who is rated as the 3rd best guard in the league by ScoutsInc., could be available, but he’ll likely command the amount of money that would scare off Cincinnati. Regardless, the Bengals should have plenty of opportunities to acquire a player who is an upgrade over Livings (who is rated as the 53rd best). It would make sense to sign a guy there, leaving the team with one less need heading into the draft.