When the Bengals go on the clock in Round 1 of Thursday’s NFL Draft, expect an offensive lineman or linebacker to be the pick.
But while those are two pressing needs, you could argue that quarterback is another position in need of an upgrade. It just so happens this is a draft where there could actually be a quarterback available at 21 that’s fully worthy of the pick: Lamar Jackson.
With draft week now here, the buzz for Jackson being in play for the Bengals is growing. ESPN’s Todd McShay is the latest to make it at least appear like Jackson is in play for the Bengals at 21.
McShay wrote about Cincinnati being among the teams in the running in his latest pre-draft buzz post:
I’ve thought for a while that he would go in the first round, but now I feel stronger than ever that will be the case. I just don’t know which team. The four teams I’m hearing are most likely, based on their creative thinking and offensive minds: Jacksonville, New Orleans, New England and Pittsburgh. Baltimore and Cincinnati are two other potential landing spots.
Then on Tuesday, McShay hopped on The Russillo Show and again mentioned Cincinnati as a possible landing spot (starts at the 30:13 mark).
“I got another text today. Don’t rule out Baltimore or Cincinnati when it comes to Lamar,” said McShay.
NFL reporter Albert Breer has also heard Jackson being connected to the Bengals and Ravens.
So, Jackson could actually be in play for the Bengals at 21, or he could end up in Baltimore and face the Bengals twice per season.
That would not be ideal. After all, the Bengals have won seven of the last nine meetings in this series because Joe Flacco is one of the worst starters in the NFL. Getting a guy like Jackson could turn the tide in this series, thus making it harder for the Bengals just to have a winning division record each season.
Saying all of this, I would not expect the Bengals to take Jackson, even if he is on the board at 21, so ideally, a team like the Saints take him and keep him out of the AFC.