One down and seven to go.
The Bengals filled one of their biggest needs Thursday with the selection of Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 selection in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
There is very little suspense regarding where Cincinnati will go with pick No. 38 in Round two tomorrow. The offensive line is still in need of an upgrade, even after the signing of offensive tackle Riley Reiff in free agency.
Offensive linemen are a deep bunch in this draft, and the best of the available group would appear to be 6-6, 317-pound offensive tackle Teven Jenkins out of Oklahoma. Jenkins also has experience at both guard spots.
Michigan’s Jaylen Mayfield, North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz, Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg and Stanford’s Walker Little will probably all be in the mix at this point, as well.
In round three, pick No. 69, we’ll probably see the Bengals go after a defensive end, and a good bet at this stage might be Texas’ Joseph Ossai. At 6-4 and 256 pounds, Ossai has a motor that never stops and was a former inside linebacker for the Longhorns.
In the fourth round, at pick No. 111, Cincinnati will probably either go back to the offensive line, or look for a cornerback to provide some badly-needed depth.
There is a possibility that Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade might be available at this spot, in which case the decision will probably already be made. The top-rated offensive lineman could be either Florida’s Stone Forsythe or Clemson’s Jackson Carman.
Whichever position the Bengals go after in the fourth round, look for Cincinnati to go the other direction in Round 5, pick No. 149.
Cornerbacks Shakur Brown of Michigan State and Kary Vincent, Jr. of LSU might still be on the board here, and Cincinnati native Tommy Kraemer of Notre Dame might be a good pick for the interior of the offensive line.
It’s also possible that names like Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas; Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse; Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech; and Ronnie Perkins, Edge, Oklahoma might still be in play at this stage, in which case you can count on Cincinnati going with the best player available.
From this point forward, you can probably expect the Bengals to go with the best player on their board, regardless of position. Don’t be surprised to see Cincinnati look for a running back at pick No. 190 of Round 6, and Michigan’s Chris Evans would be someone worth taking a chance on at this spot.
With its final selection, Cincinnati could look to players like Royce Newman, OG, Ole Miss; Darius Stills, IDL, West Virginia; and Justin Hilliard, LB, Ohio State.
It’s also possible that the Bengals could add another tight end here, with SMU’s Kylen Granson, Nick Eubanks of Michigan and Kenny Yeboah of Ole Miss possibly still available.
Six more rounds await us as the Bengals are primed to fill their remaining needs.