Rodney Dangerfield may have been thinking about the Cincinnati Bengals when he said, “I can’t get no respect.”
But at least one national publication might disagree. Pro Football Focus recognizes the strides the Bengals are making under head coach Zac Taylor, and tabbed Cincinnati’s 2020 NFL Draft class as the best in the NFL.
PFF has a pretty high opinion of their 2021 class, as well. In its annual Fantasy Football Rookie Scouting Report, PFF named five of the Bengals’ 10 selections among the top 10 rookies at their positions.
Leading the way, of course, was former LSU wide receiver and Cincinnati’s first-round selection Ja’Marr Chase, who was projected to be the top rookie receiver.
Something of a surprise was Chris Evans, the former Michigan running back who the Bengals nabbed with pick No. 202 in the sixth round. Evans, who was No. 106 on PFF’s Big Board, came in at No. 7 among rookie running backs.
Clemson’s Jackson Carman, who Cincinnati traded back for in the middle of the second round, was forecasted to be the ninth-best rookie offensive tackle. While many publications considered Carman to be something of a reach for the Bengals, PFF had him ranked No. 48 on its Big Board.
Former inside linebacker and converted edge rusher Joseph Ossai of Texas, whom Cincinnati selected in the third round with pick No. 69, was projected as the ninth-best rookie edge rusher, while massive defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin of LSU was designated as the No. 10 rookie defensive lineman.
Both Chase and Shelvin are already impressing in rookie minicamp, and Evans is off to a fast start, as well. Of course, there is still a long way to go until the opening of the regular season, and a 17-game schedule is sure to take its toll. But it’s good to know that the Bengals finally seem to be earning some respect. Now, we can only hope that respect translates into another successful rookie campaign.