Last season, the Bengals entered the offseason with a clear need at quarterback. Through the draft, they solved that issue then added to their defense with a lucrative free agency period.
Now, in preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft, there’s one clear hole that needs to be filled: The offensive line.
Despite being injured in Week 11, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow ended in the league’s top ten for sacks taken. The game-plan was oftentimes him getting the ball out quickly as well, and that plan only worked for so long.
Having earned the fifth-overall pick, they’re expected to take Penei Sewell if he’s on the board, but they may also be eyeing other prospects.
The team sent offensive line coaches to Northwestern lineman Rashawn Slater’s Pro Day, according to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy.
Teams with NFL O-line coaches in attendance for Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater’s pro-day workout:— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 9, 2021
Slater, who thinks he is the “best tackle in the draft,” is likely the best option for Cincinnati if Sewell is off the board. Slater was the third offensive lineman taken in CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco most-recent mock draft.
It didn’t stop at just Slater though. The Bengals were also at Quinn Meinerz’s Pro Day, along with every other team in the NFL.
I’m told all 32 teams were represented at Wisconsin-Whitewater C-OG Quinn Meinerz’s pro day— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 10, 2021
Washington’s Marty Hurney went; Packers had 2 reps inc. dir. of ops Milt Hendrickson; Steelers had most there w/ 3 people
OL coaches from Patriots, Steelers, Panthers & Bengals there
The Bengals are clearly planning to add talent on the offensive line.
With Jonah Williams expected to take a leap forward and players like Billy Price hopefully unlocking their potential, the Bengals may be able to give Burrow some protection in 2021. That said, there are other options as well with Joe Thuney in free agency.
The Bengals likely won’t be re-signing long-time wide receiver A.J. Green, so snagging Burrow’s former teammate and standout receiver Ja’Marr Chase at No. 5 and then adding talent prior to the draft could also be an avenue for the Bengals to improve their roster.
Either way, expect some talent to be brought to Cincinnati this offseason.