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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Bengals’ options grow after sliding

The Bengals look to have a new target as they almost drop out of the top five.

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It felt like the Cincinnati Bengals had locked up the third spot in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Then, they decided to go out and get on their longest winning streak of the season, downing both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans. They’ve actually looked good these past few weeks.

However, with those improvements does come some negative consequences. The Bengals have now dropped to the No. 5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and that could still change depending on what happens on Sunday when they close out the season against the Baltimore Ravens.

If they would’ve stayed at No. 3, Penei Sewell would’ve been the clear target following the two quarterbacks taken with the top two picks in the draft. Trevor Lawrence is favored to go No. 1 with either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields following him.

That said, let’s dive into who the Bengals are projected to take after they’ve secured their fourth win.

Pro Football Network — WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Comfortable. Everything you do as an organization with a young quarterback should be to facilitate comfort. There is no connection in the history of college football more prolific than Chase and Burrow on that championship team in 2019.

Chase lacks freak physical attributes, but he is a strong finisher above the rim and as a route runner. He is comfortable in tight windows, through contact and is a wonder in the air. Expect some “Get the Gat” flair from the two after their first touchdown hookup.

CBS Sports — OL Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

The Bengals just win, baby! They’ve now reeled off two in a row and in the process find themselves with the No. 5 pick, which means they’re almost certainly out of the Sewell sweepstakes. Slater isn’t a bad consolation prize, however, in part because he was so solid at tackle in 2019 (he opted out in 2020), and he has the versatility to play guard and even center.

Fox Sports — OT Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

Wins over the Steelers and Texans – by Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen! – likely will cost the Bengals a shot at Sewell, so they’ll have to take the next best lineman on the board to protect Joe Burrow next season.

NFL Mocks — Selecting 11th, OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

After missing out on Penei Sewell early in this mock draft scenario, the Bengals traded down for some additional and valuable draft capital and still come away with a very good left tackle prospect..... Darrisaw is a tremendous athlete with length, strength, and a finisher’s mentality who would be an instant upgrade at left tackle.

Sporting News — OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

The Bengals have made some investments in their offensive, line including first-round tackle Jonah Williams from 2019, but they need to better protect franchise quarterback Joe Burrow when he can come back from his big knee injury. Sewell’s strong, sturdy presence would be a great fit in front of Burrow and also help their running game.