The Cincinnati Bengals lost Joe Burrow a month and a half ago, and while backup quarterback Jake Browning showed some promise, he ultimately came back to reality as his time as a starter progressed, ending his sixth start with a 3-3 record.
The Bengals are now sitting 8-8 and are officially not going to be in the playoffs for a third straight season. Cincinnati’s streak of two consecutive AFC Championship games will also, unfortunately, be snapped.
However, there’s no reason to hold your head if you’re a fan. The future is bright, as Burrow should be back with a slew of weapons and a strong defense next season.
That said, the draft is just a few months away, and it’s time to start thinking of who the Bengals will take in the first round. With NFL Mock Draft projections already available, let’s dive into who the national media thinks Cincinnati will select.
CBS Sports — WR Keon Coleman — Florida State
Sports Illustrated — OT Taliese Fuaga - Oregon State
The 33rd Team — OT Amarius Mims - Georgia
Pro Football Network — OT Tyler Guyton - Oklahoma
This would be a bit rich for Tyler Guyton on my board, but that doesn’t mean I’d pan the pick. At 6’7″, 326 pounds, Guyton has one of the highest ceilings in this tackle class with his athleticism, balance, and flexibility, and he’s trending up as an impact right tackle.
Yahoo! Sports — DT Jer’Zhan Newton - Illinois
While Jake Browning doing his best Joe Burrow impression this past month has drawn a lot of attention to the Bengals, their defense has been a sore spot this entire season. Some of those woes have been from allowing explosive plays on the back end, but some of it is a lack of consistent explosive plays from the defense in general (outside the red zone, where the Bengals’ defense is just a magnet for the ball). Getting the havoc-wreaking Newton will help create pressure from the inside to give Trey Hendrickson and the other Bengals edge players some help from the interior, while also giving this defense a different flavor than it had since the days of Geno Atkins shooting gaps.
Walter Football — CB Terrion Arnold - Alabama
The Bengals have a weak secondary. They need to upgrade this area because they’re getting shredded every week. Terrion Arnold is a quick and athletic cornerback with average height.
Sporting News — DT Jer’Zhan Newton - Illinois
The Bengals have wilted against the run this season and D.J. Reader is pending free agent in the middle of their front.. Newton also has some pleasing inside pass-rush pop to help on top of pushing around blockers in the running game.