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Cody Mauch headlines new Bengals 3-round mock draft

Offensive line is one of those things the Cincinnati Bengals could end up attacking in the 2023 NFL draft.

Understandably, that leads to mock drafts doing the same thing for the team in the first round.

That’s the case in a new three-round effort from Chad Reuter from NFL.com. There, the Bengals take the Twitter-popular Cody Mauch out of North Dakota, former teammate of current Bengals guard Cordell Volson:

“Mauch showed during Senior Bowl week that he could play anywhere along the offensive line. That sort of versatility would have come in handy for the Bengals during the playoffs after they lost both starting tackles (including Jonah Williams, a free agent after the 2023 season) to injury. Putting Mauch and his former Bison teammate, Cordell Volson, on the same NFL O-line does NDSU proud.”

In the following two rounds, the Bengals take Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks in the second and California safety Daniel Scott in the third.

Mauch is an interesting discussion. He has the look of a guard at the pro level despite experience at tackle in college and everyone knows the Bengals like their positional versatility in the trenches. Problem is, it’s hard to see where he would fit as a starter — Ted Karras isn’t moving off center and Alex Cappa isn’t moving off guard. That might just mean he ends up in a competition with Volson.

Investing in Banks while Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt and Mike Hilton are the starters at corner makes some sense and he brings nice upside. Scott is more of a long-term play on the chance the team doesn’t bring back Vonn Bell in free agency — or for very long.

What’s interesting is that while the Bengals had a long-term draft class last year (taking Dax Hill to eventually replace Jessie Bates, for example), they might not have the luxury of doing so again. There are some obvious problems (offensive line) and key free agents (corner, safety, tight end) that a rookie might need to step in and fix right away.

This mock is more of a future-minded class again, which would mean the team would need a big performance in free agency.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire