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Cincinnati Bengals April Scouting Report
Mark Huber
4/9/2021

So the Bengals are one of the hot teams as we head to the April 29 NFL Draft.
What will the Bengals do with the No. 5 pick? Is it OL Penei Sewell? Or reunite QB Joe Burrow with star WR Je'Marr Chase? Or tab the tight end of the future in TE Kyle Pitts?
It's hard to go "wrong" with any of the three.
But before we talk draft let's see how the Bengals got to this position.
The Bengals in free agency have added Trey Hendrickson, Larry Ogunjobe on the defensive line. In the secondary, Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, Eli Apple, Ricardo Allen give the defensive back room great depth. Riley Reiff takes over as the starting LT.
So far the Bengals big losses are DE Carl Lawson and DB William Jackson. Beyond that, the losses of AJ Green, John Ross and Alex Erickson hurt the depth of the wideout corps but not the quality to be honest. AJ would have been nice to keep around but plenty of options.
Also gone are Gio Bernard, Cethan Carter, Randy Bullock, Marquise Alexander, Seth Williams, Geno Atkins, Bobby Hart, BJ Finney and Ryan Finley. Alexander also hurts depth of DBs as does Williams at safety. Geno was not the same player on a regular basis but he could muster a play here and there so he may hurt some, unless they find suitable replacement. Gio was team captain so his loss may hurt in the locker room but on the field he is replaceable.
Among the resigned players are Brandon Allen, Clark Harris, Jalen Davis, Brandon WIlson, Tony Brown, Semaje Perine, Mike Thomas, Kevin Huber, Quinton Spain, Jordan Evans, Mike Daniels and Amani Bledsoe.
The good here are Harris at long snapper, Wilson as kick returner, Huber as punter, Spain starter on OL, Evans at linebacker, and Daniels/Bledsoe on DL.
Josh Bynes is an unrestricted free agents. He'd be a good one to have back.
OK, the draft. There is a need on the offensive line for sure. But there also is a need at wideout and tight end. All three position groups are OK but none are outstanding. The team seemed to focus on upgrading defense in free agency but they'll still add a guy or two there in the draft.
If I were running the Bengals draft, and the 4 pick was something other than a QB (either to Atlanta or to another team in a trade) then I would deal pick 5 to a quarterback needy team and drop back in the first round and add other picks. I think the Bengals really like USC tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker. They could drop down from 5, pick up a 2 this year, maybe a 3 and a 1 in 2022. Denver would be option at 9 and Vera-Tucker should easily get there. If that's too early for the Trojan lineman then Rashawn Slater would be OK at 9.
But if the team stays at 5, I think Pitts and Sewell would be 2 choices with Pitts a slight favorite for me.
In the second round, if PItts is the pick in 1, it would appear the board is open. Yes offensive line would seem to be the biggest need but getting Burrow weapons didn't happen in free agency but the offensive line was upgraded, at least in the eyes of the Bengals.
So let's look at possible Rd 2 options.
OL-Liam Eichenberg of ND could go to RT with Jonah Williams moving inside to a guard.
DE-Joe Tryon of Washington would give Cincy a much-needed edge rusher.
WR Seth Williams from Auburn would be a big weapon for Burrow if offensive line in round 1
No matter how you cut it, the Bengals should be 2 very good prospects if they stay where they are in both rounds. If they could trade down and pick up extra picks and make those picks work, this could be a huge draft for the future of the franchise.

End.

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