As the NFL Draft slowly inches closer towards us, mock drafts are only going to get more extensive and thorough. For the Cincinnati Bengals, everyone and their mother knows what the first pick is going to end up being, so getting familiar with players that the team could target on the second and third days of the draft is what we really care about now.
Still, a seven-round mock draft in the beginning of February is a bit ambitious. That didn’t stop Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, who slotted 256 players to in his latest mock draft.
For starters, he didn’t deviate from the inevitable at the top, so let’s get that out of the way right quick:
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
The 2020 NFL draft won’t start with much suspense; many around the NFL are already speculating that Joe Burrow will be the pick.
Burrow makes the most sense for Cincinnati, where quarterback has been a need for several seasons as it became apparent that Andy Dalton but couldn’t advance through the postseason. With Burrow, the Bengals get a five-year window to rebuild this team with an affordable quarterback and exciting young talents around him (Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Hubbard).
There will be months of speculation about what the Bengals should do here, but that’s just talk for clicks. The pick will be Burrow.
The Bengals’ draft doesn’t really begin until the second round and beyond. Let’s see what Miller has in store for them after the first round.
33. WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
65. CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
104. DL Rashard Lawrence, LSU
147. OL Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
181. CB Josiah Scott, Michigan State
216. S Josh Metellus, Michigan
Teams who draft quarterbacks in the first round typically follow that by drafting another offensive player in the second round. In this case, Shenault becomes the newest addition to an already quality receiving corps. How the Bengals attack this position in the draft will depend entirely upon what happens with them and A.J. Green, but every team could benefit from drafting a receiver from this year’s class. Shenault is one of the more talented ones for sure.
The cornerback position is in a similar state of flux as the receiver position for the Bengals. Dre Kirkpatrick could very well be a cap casualty and Darqueze Dennard is entering free agency again. One of Cincinnati’s seven picks could easily be a cornerback depending on what happens to Kirkpatrick and or Dennard, and Diggs, the brother of Minnesota Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs, was a Pro Football Focus All-American and would be a great value pick at the top of the third round.
If the Bengals double-dip at any position group, however, it probably won’t be at cornerback. In the sixth round, a player like Scott could simply be best player available, and the value of the position cannot be understated.
Help along the offensive line doesn’t come until one round before that in the form of Jackson, who had a much better Senior Bowl than what his senior year tape showed. The Bengals seem to have an affinity with blockers from Ohio State, so it at least makes sense logically.
The one position that seems to be missing is linebacker, but this class isn’t very deep at that position. This could be the situation the Bengals find themselves in as the draft goes on; they’re not going to pick a linebacker for the sake of picking a linebacker. They simply need too much talent all over the roster to do so.
What say you? Would you be satisfied if the draft played out like this?