32 draft boards are currently being reset as the NFL has Friday afternoon to figure out how to attack the second and third rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, as soon as they turned in the card that read “Ja’Marr Chase,” they were undoubtedly wondering how many offensive linemen were going to be drafted before Thursday night concluded.
The answer was five; a number slightly smaller than what the consensus, and Las Vegas, had pegged it to be. Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, as expected, where the first two to find new homes, Alijah Vera-Tucker quickly followed Slater, Alex Leatherwood surprisingly became the fourth o-lineman drafted, and Christian Darrisaw rounded out the group a little bit later.
We’ll call that a win.
There are many ways the Bengals can build off of what they did on Thursday night. We even have a best available players post detailing all the players the Bengals should consider. But who’re the guys that can really give what the Bengals need. There are quite a few available players that fit that billing.
In an attempt to differentiate from simply the best players available, here are the players that should belong on every Bengals fans’ wishlist for the second and even third rounds.
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
As soon as the first round ended, all members of Team Chase and Team Sewell seemed to merge into one big conglomerate known as Team Jenkins. For whatever reason, the 23-year old Jenkins slid out of the first round after he was expected by many to be the fourth or fifth lineman to go off the board. We’re unsure exactly why Jenkins is falling, but reports are it’s a combination of the hip injury he suffered last November and some other concerns.
It's more than just the hip. Lots of questions.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 30, 2021
The Bengals will either take advantage of this seemingly league-wide doubt, or they’ll be amongst those who simply pass on him. They may not even be able to draft him. He’s a current betting favorite to be picked ahead of them.
Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
There was a good chance Radunz would join former NDSU teammate Trey Lance in the first round, but he’s still on the board. Personally, even if Jenkins is still there, I think there’s a really good chance the Bengals call Radunz’s phone. He has a nastiness to his game while also being a natural athlete as a pass protector. He showed out at the Senior Bowl as the practice player of the week against guys who played at much bigger programs. The Bengals were present at his pro day as well. It’s a great and logical fit.
Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
Compared to Jenkins and Radunz, Cosmi is far from a finished project. Despite his rawness, he was one of the most productive offensive linemen in all of college football for the last two years. He just rarely allowed pressures at Texas, and when he got his hands in the right place, he drove guys out of gaps with ease. He also tested extremely well at his pro day and was a team captain; both factors give him a good chance of becoming the next Bengal.
Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Here’s the wildcard at 38 for the offensive line. Is this too early for a Division III player who hasn’t played in a year? Or do they feel like they won’t be able to get a potential Pro Bowl guard (or center) with the 69th pick? One thing I can say is that they are indeed interested in Meinerz, a team captain who also dominated the Senior Bowl. They had representatives at his pro day and have talked to him since via at least one virtual meeting. Depending on if other linemen get snagged before them in the second round, don’t be shocked to see Meinerz as the pick.
Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
Everyone’s fixated on offensive linemen, rightfully so, but don’t rule out pass-rusher if the right one is there. Basham not only has the production and athleticism data on his side, he’ll come into the league with coveted versatility and leadership skills. He’s a bit on the older side as he’ll turn 24 later this year, but he understands how to maximize his athleticism and can win from multiple technique alignments. He’s a really safe bet to succeed at the next level.
Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Ossai is another data darling with appropriately high upside as a pass-rusher. He dominated in Texas’ defense when you compare his production to the entire team’s production, which is what you should do when observing production, and he tested extremely well at his pro day alongside his former teammate in Cosmi. He might not be an ideal schematic fit as the Bengals might be veering away from odd-front packages on defense, but they could absolutely use Ossai’s athleticism on the edge.
Milton Williams, IDL, Louisiana Tech
I’ll say this right now, if Williams is available at pick 69, he’s getting the call from Zac Taylor. The Bengals now need a long-term Geno Atkins replacement, and Williams has the profile to become a similar player. He’s not close to that yet, but very rarely do defensive tackles produce and move like Williams. That’s what made Atkins special coming out of Georgia 11 years ago. It’d be fitting if Cincinnati replaced both A.J. Green and Atkins with ideal prospects in the same draft.
Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama: Medical, medical, medical. Dickerson the on-field player gets drafted in the first round every single year. But we knew there was doubt around the league about his long-term ability to stay healthy after suffering multiple season-ending injuries at both Florida State and Alabama. Still, he’s a damn good player and is worth mentioning because of that.
Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama: Not a single defensive tackle was taken in the first round. Barmore was the projected first one to go, but some off-field questions arose in the pre-draft process and now he’s sliding. If the Bengals feel like they can connect with him, they’d certainly could use him.
Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia: Considered perhaps the best pure edge rusher in this class, Ojulari’s right knee is apparently concerning teams. He suffered a torn ACL back all the way back in 2017 and missed the 2018 season because of it. He’s proved to be a fast and explosive pass rusher since then, but that one injury has caused concern for the league.