The NFL draft is nearly here, which means that smokescreen season is at its climax.
Right now, teams are pumping out as many reports about what position or player they want to take as possible to try and keep other teams guessing as to what they will actually do.
In the past, Cincinnati has been fairly predictable with what they were planning. We aren’t going to count selecting Joe Burrow, because that was just obvious to everyone. More specifically like the time they ended up drafting Billy Price after the Lions hopped them to select Frank Ragnow in the 2018 draft.
Now, they will seemingly be setup to draft one of the best players in the draft with there expected to be at least three quarterbacks taken ahead of them. It has seemed to become a question of whether the team will select offensive lineman Penei Sewell or wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Both players should be outstanding picks, but keeping that air of unpredictability will be invaluable as the Falcons selecting ahead of them may be prepared to trade out. Odds are that who ever goes up to that pick would also select a quarterback given the price, but you can never be too careful with a team like the Dolphins sitting right behind you.
Right now it seems like the national insiders are fairly split on what they’ve been hearing regarding the Bengals’ choice.
There has been insiders like Malik Wright, head of the WrightWay Sports Network, who has been telling people for months that Chase will be their pick barring someone drafting Burrow’s former teammate with the fourth overall selection. He has stayed consistent in his prediction through the whole process.
Then there Sport’s Illustrated’s Albert Breer who has recently hopped on the Chase train as well:
”And one other thing that’s interesting, and I’ve heard this from a few people, is how people at LSU seem confident that Chase is going fifth. Right now, I’d go with Chase being picked here, while reserving the right to change my mind.”
There are fans that are likely upset with the idea of taking a blue chip wide receiver over the top offensive lineman in the draft. However, the prevailing thought has become that this draft is extremely deep on offensive linemen, but isn’t as deep with outside wide receivers even remotely close to Chase.
Still, it seems like some insiders are getting mixed reviews on who Cincinnati is leaning towards. ESPN’s Todd McShay has sided with Sewell as the pick, but recently dropped an interesting not while on Ryen Russilio’s podcast for the Ringer:
“Cincinnati’s going to be really interesting at No. 5. I’ve heard two sides of it and I don’t know what to believe,” McShay said. “I’ve heard that Ja’Marr Chase, the LSU receiver who set an single-season record for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2019 when he was paired up with Joe Burrow could be the pick there, but I’ve also heard some people say that they think Penei Sewell the left tackle from Oregon is gonna be the pick. So it kinda goes back and forth. I heard Sewell for a long time, but then this weekend I talked to a couple of people that really believe that Chase could be the pick to make Joe Burrow happy.”
It seems like either the people in Cincinnati’s front office and/or coaching staff are very split on who the team will be selecting. On the other hand, it could be that the Bengals have finally figured out that they’ve been far too easy to read the past few seasons. Maybe this will work out in their favor when it comes time for them to select on Thursday night.