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Bengals mock draft roundup

At 2-8-1 and with an injured star quarterback, it’s time to look towards the future — the 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL: New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals had a relatively good start to the season.

With No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow leading the way, the team was 1-2-1 in their first four games. Losing numerous games with Burrow leading the charge, the Bengals continued to slip after his season-ending injury. The Bengals have lost six of their last seven.

They’ll easily have a top-five pick, especially since they likely won’t be favored in any of their remaining games. What they do with that pick is what matters, and most would agree there is one position group that needs help more than most — the offensive line.

Burrow was his an unprecedented amount, and the team really only found success, primary against Tennessee, when he was getting the ball out easily and often. That limits an offense, and it may have easily limited Burrow.

That said, with a franchise quarterback leading the way and depth both on the edges and on defense, let’s dive into who analysts are predicting the Bengals draft with their 2021 first-round pick.

CBS Sports — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 11, which reinforced the idea that Cincy has to protect the future of their franchise. The team should draft several O-linemen this spring because Burrow took a lot of hits as a rookie.

NFL Mocks — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

Penei Sewell has generated a ton of hype as a left tackle prospect, some calling him “generational” for his excellent play through two seasons as an Oregon Duck.

The Draft Network — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

These next couple spots could be ideal trade down candidates as teams look to move up for quarterbacks. However, I’ll stick to no trades for this exercise, so in this scenario the Bengals will run this card in. Addressing the offensive line is far and away the Bengals’ biggest priority this offseason. The unit allowed Joe Burrow to get hit far too often which resulted in Burrow suffering a season-ending knee injury. Adding Penei Sewell, who is one of the most talented tackles to come in the draft in years, will give the Bengals a much-needed boost upfront.

NBC Sports — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

If Cincinnati takes Sewell with the third pick, it may seem like a year too late for most Bengals’ supporters. Last season’s Outland Trophy winner is an exceptional talent with massive upside and dominating potential. Sewell’s strength and balance enable him to leverage pass rushers away from quarterbacks and establish a strong anchor to maintain protection integrity. Fairly or not, his selection may be tied to the future successes of injured, franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ organization.

Pro Football Network — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

Joe Burrow already lost nearly half of his rookie season to horrid offensive line play. Why not invest in your franchise QB and take the best offensive tackle prospect we’ve seen in over a decade? Ideally, the Bengals would also add a new offensive line coach to give Sewell the best chance to succeed in the NFL. The Bengals get the best player available for arguably their biggest need.

Sewell is a natural offensive tackle with great length, smooth feet, and natural power. His flexibility is unheard of for his size, and his nasty attitude causes him to finish every play. He wears down defenders and takes no prisoners as linebackers and defensive backs alike fear him downfield — Sewell projects as an All-Pro.

NJ.com — 3rd overall — Penei Sewell

With the reigning first overall pick, QB Joe Burrow, coming off major knee surgery, the urgency to protect him becomes even more apparent. It just so happens that Sewell is a top-three prospect as well.