The Bengals stuck to their board and finished the 2020 NFL Draft on a similar high note like when they began with the first-overall pick. Many holes on their roster have been filled, and while that bodes well for some players, it spells trouble for others.
Here are our winners and losers after the Bengals wrapped up day three of the draft.
Billy Price and Xavier Su’a-filo: The Bengals left the offensive line completely untouched in the first five rounds of the draft. After the Bengals released John Miller, the starting right guard spot will come down to one of these two. The Bengals did draft Hakeem Adeniji, but he won’t start right away.
For now, right guard is Price’s and Su’a-filo’s to lose. The draft doesn’t change their situation.
Lou Anarumo: It seems like Lou Anarumo has been listed as a winner in every winners/losers posts in the draft since he was hired. Taylor has prioritized defense in the last two drafts and free agencies to help Anarumo fix his defense. With Akeem Davis-Gaither, Khalid Kareem and Marcus Bailey chosen on Day 3, Anarumo will have plenty of pieces to plug and play.
Al Golden: Taylor gave linebackers coach Al Golden credit for helping them bring in Wilson with their third round pick. Then, the Bengals bookended Day 3 with linebackers, so Golden will have a fresh start.
The Bengals added three new linebackers in the draft and one in free agency for Golden’s first year in Cincinnati. There’s a possibility that Germaine Pratt is the only linebacker on the roster that played for the Bengals in 2019, and he will only be a second-year player. So Golden will have an opportunity to mold some young linebackers for the Bengals.
Joe Mixon: Even though he never said he would, rumor floated around that Joe Mixon would hold out if he didn’t have a new deal. Mixon is entering a contract year, but the Bengals didn’t draft his heir apparent this year.
Either the Bengals are prepared to re-sign Mixon, or they think their next bellcow back is already on the roster. The Bengals do have some interesting young prospects in Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson, but they aren’t guarantees. For the time being, Mixon’s long-term future is safe.
Bengals fans: This was a phenomenal draft by the Bengals. They struck a balance between need and availability, and patched up some big holes along the way.
Between free agency and the draft, the Bengals’ defense is night and day from what it was last season. The Bengals now have a stud of a franchise quarterback, and have a long-term weapon for him to target. They even got some competition at the offensive line.
The only criticism is that they may not have addressed the offensive line according to some fans’ expectations. But the coaching staff clearly feels comfortable with the group they have, so they targeted other needs instead.
We’ll see how this draft class shakes out over the next few years, but most, if not all picks, could take on an important role this year. The Bengals had one of the best drafts in the NFL this year, and one of their best in franchise history.
2015 feels like it was a long, long time ago.
Jordan Evans: Hardy Nickerson was listed as a loser last night, and Jordan Evans will now join him in that category. The Bengals doubled down on linebacker in the middle of the draft, and dipped back into the well in the last round, so spots are growing scare. Germaine Pratt, Josh Bynes, Logan Wilson, and Akeem Davis-Gaither are expected to play at the top of the depth chart as Zac Taylor continues to phase out the linebackers Marvin Lewis brought in. Marcus Bailey is a late-round pick that will play in the middle, but will make these spots scarce.
Evans was mentioned here specifically because Davis-Gaither plays his position, and Evans will be the odd man out in training camp.
Alex Redmond: The Bengals brought back Alex Redmond for another year, but his standing is as shaky as ever. Not only did the Bengals bring in Su’a-filo during free agency, but they drafted Adeniji in the sixth round. Adeniji played tackle at Kansas, but moved over to guard at the Senior Bowl where he is expected to make his living.
An undrafted free agent, Redmond has been the odd man out for most of his career. That is going to continue through 2020, where he will have to have the training camp of his life to keep his roster spot.