Despite failing to tank at the end of the 2020, the Cincinnati Bengals will be on the clock with the fifth-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While trading back is also an option, the three players that Cincinnati should want the most will likely still be on the board after a flurry of quarterback selections should headline the top-three picks.
With tight end Kyle Pitts, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and offensive lineman Penei Sewell the three that the Bengals should narrow it down to, Cincinnati, according to ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum, who was also a former NFL general manager, has an easy decision.
“Sewell is still available? I’m sprinting to the podium to lock in that pick. No discussion necessary, even with pass-catchers such as Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle on the board. Sewell is the top lineman in the class, and the Bengals’ blocking unit was super inconsistent in 2020. Simply put, you have to protect quarterback Joe Burrow,” Tannenbaum wrote in his most recent NFL mock draft.
Chase and Pitts could be generational talents, but Sewell fits both the talent and need category.
Although he played only 11 games last season, Burrow finished tied for the tenth most sacks taken in the NFL, and given half the time the Bengals game plan was to get the ball out quickly, it was far from his fault that he was taken down.
However, despite those facts, it’s still not that easy.
Burrow has a connection with Chase already, and the team lost out on bringing back A.J. Green. Bringing in a starter-quality tackle in Riley Reiff, the Bengals don’t have to draft a lineman.
As a sophomore at LSU, Chase went for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. At just 21, Chase would be the team’s best receiving prospect since A.J. Green was brought to the Queen City from Georgia.
That said, Sewell may still make more sense from a positional standpoint, but if it’s about the pure, generational talent in the palm of their hand, there’s no doubt the Bengals may go in a different direction.