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How the experts are grading the Bengals’ 2021 draft

Overall a good draft class for the Bengals.

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NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals wrapped up their 2021 NFL Draft class on Saturday and came away with a very solid class.

Andrew Russell of Pro Football Focus noted that the Bengals drafted 6 players that were ranked in the top-150 of the final PFF big board.

With that being said, here is a roundup of the overall grade that the experts gave the Bengals.


“I don’t see how Chase fails in the NFL, barring injury, which means this long-term grade for this class could come down to whether Carman turns into a quality starter. It’s no sure thing. Osaai and Sample are solid picks.” B+

“The Bengals had a choice between a dominant left tackle in Penei Sewell and an outstanding receiver in Chase. They chose Chase despite the fact that their young quarterback, Joe Burrow, had his rookie season cut short by an injury suffered in the pocket. They hope selecting Carman will rectify the situation and allow Burrow and Chase to rekindle the connection that led them to a national title. I’ll be interested to see if other tackles available at No. 46 turn out to be better players. Ossai’s high character and athleticism make him a shrewd pick in the third round.”

Yahoo! Sports: C+

“Reuniting LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with his college quarterback Joe Burrow was a good pick at No. 5 overall, but the primary need for the Bengals was finding a franchise left tackle. The Bengals missed their second opportunity when they traded the No. 38 pick in Round 2 to the Patriots with Teven Jenkins, Dillon Radunz and other good offensive linemen still on the board. When Cincy was on the clock at No. 46 overall, they took Clemson left tackle Jackson Carman, who was ranked 96th on NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah’s Big Board.”

CBS Sports: B-

“They opted for receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the first round over tackle Penei Sewell, which I wouldn’t have done, but I get it. Carman better be good. I did like them drafting edge players in the third and fourth round since they have a nice history of developing edge players from rounds 2-4.”

Draft Wire: B

“Taking Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell will be debated for years, but if Jackson Carman pans out at either guard or tackle, the argument will die down. Joseph Ossai was absolute robbery in the third round, while Cam Sample and D’Ante Smith were worthy sleeper picks, even if they were a round earlier than expected. Tyler Shelvin is a mountain of a man who could be a two-down starter, and Trey Hill can absolutely be their starting center sooner than later. Chris Evans is a viable replacement for Gio Bernard, and Wyatt Hubert was a solid final pick. Oh, and they had the guts to draft the kicker they needed.”

Sports Illustrated: C+

“Joe Burrow’s knee injury was not the fault of his tackles. You can separate that argument from the fact that the Bengals’ offensive line has been perpetually scattershot and, in 2021, is highly dependent on young players developing on schedule. Picking Ja’Marr Chase at No. 5 is a fine decision in the context of a deep tackle class. Trading down in the second round beyond the wave of top second-round tackles and then nabbing Clemson’s Jackson Carman, though, was a bit puzzling. Perhaps Carman will find his own at guard, which will give the Bengals more of an interior presence. The hope, then, is that Riley Reiff can hang on as he enters his age-33 season.”

USA Today: B+

“Reuniting LSU star WR Ja’Marr Chase with former Tigers teammate Joe Burrow has to be exciting for Cincy fans and could make this offense really special if Chase is as good as advertised. The Bengals next went for protection for Burrow (OL Jackson Carman) before continuing to bolster a pass rush – it had a league-low 17 sacks in 2020 – with DEs Joseph Ossai and Cameron Sample. Taking a kicker (Evan McPherson) as high as the fifth round is usually a dicey proposition.”

Touchdown Wire: B

“The Bengals may not have done enough to address their offensive line needs (Clemson’s Jackson Carman in the second round is a bit of a reach), but nobody will care about that if Ja’Marr Chase, the best receiver in this class and Joe Burrow’s best buddy at LSU, is able to bring that level of fire to Cincinnati’s passing game. If Burrow sees the same amount of pressure as he did in 2020 despite a huge percentage of three-step drops… well, the regret for passing on Penei Sewell might be stark in contrast. And while the Bengals lost Carl Lawson to the Jets in free agency, picking up Texas edge-rusher Joseph Ossai in the third round is a great value pick.”

The Sporting News: B+

“The Bengals could afford to choose Chase as a go-to guy for Joe Burrow over protection for Burrow with some options at offensive tackle and landed another in Carman. Ossai, Sample and Hubert add to Trey Hendrickson revamping the edge pass rush and Shelvin gives them a powerful run-stuffing presence inside. They also hope MacPherson will clean up the kicking game and Evans can be a good supplement to Joe Mixon.”

Let us know in the comments section how you would grade the Bengals’ 2021 NFL Draft.