By now, you have probably seen so many Cincinnati Bengals mock drafts that your brain feels like scrambled eggs. I have, at least. Between fans on Twitter, experts across the league, and my own tinkering, I could see the Bengals taking 10 different players and rationale to back it up.
One name I haven’t seen linked to Cincinnati until now is Wisconsin Badgers defensive tackle Keeanu Benton, who NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has the Bengals taking in his final mock draft before the real thing.
Cincinnati is still in that coveted rookie quarterback contract window, and while they do need help on the inside of the defensive line, Benton isn’t exactly a great interior pass rusher.
With DJ Reader manning the middle and playing the run at an elite level, Benton doesn’t seem like the best alternative to put in on passing downs. Benton did have 4.5 sacks as a senior, but he is regarded as more of an A-Gap finisher.
On the other hand, Reader is going into the final year of his contract. With big-money extensions coming for stellar 2020 draftees Joe Burrow, Logan Wilson, and (hopefully) Tee Higgins, could the Bengals be drafting Reader’s replacement?
We saw this last season with the selection of Daxton Hill. Cincinnati knew that Jessie Bates III was on his way out of town, likely due to the market and the Bengals’ long-term plans not including paying at the top of said market.
The prospect of Reader moving on is not something anyone wants to hear about, but if Benton is, after all, the selection tomorrow night, it could be a clue as to Reader’s future with the club.
Crazy mock or potential insight into the future of a start veteran? That’s the beauty of draft season...