It’s looking more and more like the Bengals are going to get their man when Cincinnati exercises its No. 5 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Of course, just who that man is remains to be seen.
If you listen to most of the prognosticators, that man is Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. And the path would seem to be open to Sewell if Miami does what lots of people expect at No. 3 and selects former Joe Burrow battery mate Ja’Marr Chase.
The Sewell pick seems to be even more likely with the latest rumors that Atlanta, which has the No. 4 selection, is expressing serious interest in Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Of course, Miami may have already scuttled those plans when it picked up former Houston wide receiver Will Fuller on a one-year contract that reportedly includes a signing bonus of nearly $10 million with a base salary of close to $1 million and an additional $3 million in incentives.
In which case, you might see the Dolphins jump on the Sewell band wagon, which would leave the Bengals with a pretty good consolation prize in Chase. The LSU product sat out the 2020 season after leading the nation in 2019 with 1,780 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns on 84 catches and being awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in college football.
Those lofty credentials might convince Miami to stick with its original plan and draft Chase anyway, but that does not guarantee that Sewell will be making his way to the Queen City.
Or Chase could be slotted in at No. 3 in yet another scenario, leaving the door open for Sewell once again.
At least one national pundit, Mark Schofield of TouchdownWire, sees the Dolphins trading their No. 3 pick to the Houston Texans as part of a deal to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson. And the Texans promptly select Chase as the primary target for their new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.
However, in this iteration, the Bengals pass on Sewell at No. 5 and instead select Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater, who some draftniks see as the top offensive tackle on the board.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Just ask Emory Hunt of CBS Sports, who sees Cincinnati selecting none other than offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech with the No. 5 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
So, be it Penei Sewell, Ja’Marr Chase, Rashawn Slater or even Christian Darrisaw, one thing is certain - the Bengals are going to get their man.