It seems to be happening every draft cycle lately. The national media has made criticizing the Cincinnati Bengals’ every decision or franchise a goal.
First, it was trying to get quarterback Joe Burrow to pull an Eli Manning last offseason, and now they are really going out of their way to trash Cincinnati for selecting Ja’Marr Chase over offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
One of the most blatant examples comes from Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski, who gave the Bengals an F for their pick.
Here is his reasoning for the grade after talking about how great of a player Chase is.
The Cincinnati Bengals decided it was more important to pair last year’s No. 1 overall pick with his favorite collegiate target than properly protect the quarterback.
What does a great target matter when the passer is being consistently harassed or put on his back? The issue with this selection doesn’t involve Chase’s talent. He’s clearly the class’s best wide receiver. Cincinnati’s mistake involves prioritization.
Penei Sewell is an elite offensive line talent. He has Hall of Fame-caliber ability. The 2019 Outland Trophy winner plays a premium position. Yet, the Bengals think they can get a solid option later while getting the weapon now. Cincinnati has officially taken the backward approach to building a roster.
To start off, this was the lowest grade up until that point in the draft. The only other team to get an F was the Raiders for selecting Alex Leatherwood, who everyone agrees was a pretty huge reach. He put selecting Chase on the same level of reaching that far.
This ignores the fact Cincinnati brought back Frank Pollack to coach the offensive line, who was the coach during Joe Mixon’s most successful season. It ignores the team signing Riley Reiff in free agency to replace Bobby Hart. It also ignores that so many injuries crippled the position in 2020, which at one point had Quinton Spain playing right tackle after the ink on his contract had barely dried.
However, the worst part of this is the sheer inconsistency we have seen this entire offseason. The Bengals weren’t the only team in desperate need of offensive line help in the top 10. The Dolphins are in DIRE need of offensive linemen. Austin Jackson and the rest of their young linemen struggled in 2020. They need instant help to protect their quarterback as well. They need a future left tackle.
However, Miami passed up on Sewell as well for wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Surely, Sobleski and Bleacher Report were equally critical?
Miami was given a B, and the biggest criticism was “whether Miami chose the correct Alabama wide receiver.”
Their offensive line need wasn’t even mentioned.
This isn’t a surprising lack of consistency. Bengals fans have become used to this. No matter what Cincinnati does they are a garbage franchise and no player should want to go there.
Not a peep was made this offseason over whether Trevor Lawrence should try and pull a Manning to avoid going to the Jaguars. Jacksonville has been one of the worst run franchises in the past decade. Yet, the Bengals who aren’t that far removed from five straight playoff appearances who had Andy Dalton playing at an MVP level prior to the 2016 was a quarterback graveyard. Yet Jacksonville should be a place for Lawrence to flourish. Just ask Mark Brunell, their last successful quarterback for any extended period of time.
By the way the way it looks like there are still several plug-and-play offensive linemen available going into Day 2. It really is too bad that apparently the Bengals won’t be making another picked based on how the media and some fans have been so critical the selection of Chase.