The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone. The Bengals got their new quarterback in LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow with the first overall selection.
Burrow was a huge addition, but the Bengals have more work to do. The Dolphins and Chargers each drafted a quarterback in Round 1 plus at least one more player. The Dolphins had to give up some talented veterans to do it. The Chargers had to trade back into the round. The Bengals didn’t get two first-round picks, but they hold the first pick in Round 2 and will have the first shot at some excellent players who went undrafted in Round 1.
Here are some of the top options for the Bengals in the 2nd Round.
Denzel Mims - Wide Receiver - Baylor
The Baylor wide receiver has good speed and is an excellent route-runner. He makes great adjustments to the ball and is excellent at making plays on back-shoulder fades. This just happens to be one of Burrow’s favorite routes to throw.
Mims has the tools to develop into a true WR1 in the NFL and could be a huge addition to the offense.
The Bengals could also consider USC’s Michael Pittman Jr., Clemson’s Tee Higgins, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, or even South Carolina’s Brian Edwards if they want to get a receiver on Day 2.
Josh Jones - Offensive Tackle - Houston
The 6-5 319 Jones was a four-year starter at left tackle for Houston and only gave up a single sack in his senior season. Jones was expected by many to get drafted in Round 1 and could be the answer the Bengals are looking for at right tackle. After drafting a franchise quarterback in Round 1, it would make a lot of sense to turnaround and get him some protection in Round 2.
If they do not end up drafting Jones they could beef up the offensive line with another tackle like TCU’s Lucas Niang, Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland, or Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho. They could also add an interior offensive lineman like LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry or Temple’s Matt Hennessey.
Zack Baun - OLB/DE - Wisconsin
Baun was a true 3-4 outside linebacker at Wisconsin. He is good in coverage and against the run but is at his best as a pass-rusher. The only issue is that at 238 he is a little light. Some feel that at his size, he will have to become an inside linebacker to find success in the NFL. He may be able to do that, but his ability as a pass rusher is undeniable. Whatever team ends up drafting him needs to take advantage.
If the Bengals look to add a true off-the-ball linebacker, they could go with Mississippi State’s Willie Gay Jr., Wyoming’s Logan Wilson, Appalachian State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither, Ohio State’s Malik Harrison or maybe even Purdue’s Markus Bailey.
A.J. Epenesa - Defensive Lineman - Iowa
Epensa is an excellent defender who has the versatility to play defensive end and defensive tackle. He most likely dropped because of poor testing, but he has the athletic ability and strength to win as a pass rusher.
He could play anywhere from a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive end to an interior pass rusher.
Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos is another option who can play multiple positions on the defensive line and is widely considered a first-round talent.
Antoine Winfield Jr. - Safety - Minnesota
No safeties were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. Top prospects like Bama’s Xavier McKinney and LSU’s Grant Delpit are still on the board as are small-school sensations Jeremy Chinn and Kyle Dugger from Southern Illinois and Lenoir Rhyne respectively.
The guy who really stands out though is Winfield. He can play all over the field from the deep field zone, to the slot, to the box.
He has great ball skills and is a tough run defender.
Kristian Fulton - Cornerback - LSU
Fulton is an excellent press cornerback, but does not have the standard athletic profile for the position. He was expected to go in Round 1 and won’t last long on Friday.
Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Virginia Tech’s Bryce Hall, and Utah’s Jaylon Johnson are 3 more intriguing cornerback prospects who remain on the board.
Some fans want the Bengals to trade back, but with the opportunity to get an impact player, I hope they don’t. Selecting Mims, Baun, Jones, or Epenesa would give the Bengals another impact player who could make a big difference in 2020 and beyond.