When Malik Wright speaks, we listen.
If you don’t know the CEO of The Wrightway Sports Network by now, you’ve been missing out on a lot of fun. Wright has been on point in predicting what the Bengals have done this offseason and is clearly well connected within the Bengals’ organization.
Wright was a guest on a recent episode of the Locked On Bengals podcast, and gave his answer to what the Bengals will do at the top of the 2021 NFL draft.
“They’re gonna take Ja’Marr Chase. He will be the Cincinnati Bengals next top-tier wide receiver,” Wright said. “I think the world of Penei Sewell as do the Cincinnati Bengals. They view him highly. He’s offensive tackle No. 1 from everything I’ve been told on their board. The tea leaves are down there. This offensive line class is extremely deep. You’re going to be able to grab an offensive tackle in round two. It just really shapes up in the Bengals’ favor. In other years I think Penei Sewell would’ve been the pick, but you got a guy like Ja’Marr Chase on the board though—you can’t pass that up. Ja’Marr Chase will be the fifth-overall pick. Book it.”
Book it we shall.
The logic for picking Chase is simple: The Bengals need a No. 1 receiver to replace A.J. Green, and this class of offensive linemen is the deepest we’ve seen in quite some time. Cincinnati’s inactivity in replacing Green in free agency has also been a clear indication that they’re confident in replacing Green in the draft.
There was still some rational belief that the club would take Penei Sewell despite signing free agent tackle Riley Reiff, but Wright says they are content with where the line is right now and will look to add to it after the first round.
“Riley Reiff is your starting right tackle, Bobby Hart is no longer your starting right tackle. For starters,” Wright said. “You have Jonah Williams at left tackle. You have Quinton Spain, Xavier Su’a-Filo...they’re still high on Xavier Su’a-Filo, they still believe he can be a starter for them. And they still believe in Quinton Spain, he came in there and provided some stability to that offensive line when he did play. Well, you’re no longer in a position where you have to pigeonhole yourself down to one position. You can get that No. 1 receiver that you’ve been targeting for the last two years. Whether it be Deandre Hopkins or Kenny Golladay, the Bengals have been in the receiver market. That’s even after they franchise tagged A.J. Green, this is something that they’ve been trying to do.”
Wright went on to allude that Auden Tate is not sufficient enough for the Bengals as their third starting receiver, making it sound like they’re serious about replacing Green at the X spot out wide. He also added that the Bengals see the value of the o-line class after the first round, which has been heavily speculated based on previous reports, as well as being the general consensus around the media.
There’s still time for the Bengals to convince themselves of Sewell over Chase, but considering Wright’s track record for these sort of things, Chase appears to be the pick at No. 5.