As of now, the Bengals own the No. 5 roster in the 2021 NFL Draft, which opens April 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s about all we know for sure. But even that is subject to change.
The Bengals could decide to trade in the draft to pick up a new early round roster and help fill in some of the gaps left after another year of free-agent frenzy that saw the defense almost completely. was re-formed.
Whether Cincinnati could stay where it is and choose between a trio of generational talent, all of which could help turn the Bengals into a contender sooner rather than later. Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, LSU recipient JaMarr Chase and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts have all been laughed at against Cincinnati by various pundits.
So, assuming the Bengals stay in place and assuming all three are available when the Bengali number is called, who do they select?
Most experts agree that Cincinnatis’ top three needs are offensive linemen, wide receiver, and edge rushers. So that seems to remove Pitts from the equation.
The Bengals did very little to improve the attack during the off-season, but they did pick it up Minnesota Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff, a first round selection of the Detroit Lions in the 2012 NFL Draft who started 127 of 135 games played in his career, to man the correct tackle position. And Cincinnati didn’t go into the wide open duty position of the receiver at all, despite the loss of AJ Green, return specialist Alex Erickson and John Ross.
So two factors should be taken into account in the selection of Cincinnatis. First, what is the position with the greatest need? And, second, between offensive linemen and receivers, which position group is deeper to result in the smallest drop-off between first and second round selections?
If the Bengals select Sewell in the first round, they would look for a wide receiver in the second round. The best of the remaining group is probably Mississippis Elijah Moore, who rode a staggering 4.32 40 on his pro Day. But at 5-9 and 178 pounds, there are many questions about its durability.
Next is likely Minnesota Rashod Bateman, who is 6-2 and 210 pounds as tall as the Bengals covet, and his 4.39 40 would give them the threat they were missing on the field.
If Cincinnati went with Chase, there would be an offensive lineman in round two, and the best of that remaining bunch would likely be Samuel Cosmi from Texas. Cosmi, who stands 6-5 7/8 and weighs 308 pounds, was named First Team All Big-12 in 2020. He rode a 4.84 40 on his pro day and made an impressive 36 reps on the bench press.
Next on the list is probably Michigan’s offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield. Mayfield, who won’t turn 21 until May, is young and relatively inexperienced and is said to be a development project. Which the Bengals probably don’t need at the moment.
Time to choose.
With fifth pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals will select: Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, University of Oregon.
Due to its unique combination of size and speed, Cincinnati then goes with Bateman in the second round. A three-year start for the Golden Gophers, Bateman ended his college career with 147 receptions for 2,395 yards (average 16.3 yards per catch) and 19 touchdowns.
Unless they don’t.
It is equally possible that the Bengals decide to select Chase on Choice five and Cosmi, or another attacking lineman, on Choice 38.
Regardless, Cincinnati would have met its two biggest needs, selecting players who will play for the next decade, and probably even All-Pros, in its lineup.
Finally a round without much drama. With pick # 69 of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Pittsburgh Edge rusher Rashad Weaver. Another three-year-old performer, Weaver bounced back from a torn ACL to record 7.5 bags and three forced fumbles in 2020. At 6-4 and 265 pounds, Weaver ended his career with 17 bags and took a 4.85 40 its professional day.
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