Mike Fanelli | March 5th, 2020
Needless to say, the highlight of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2019 season was landing the top pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The team finished the season 2-14, with wins over the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals didn’t win a game till week 13, which was the first week of December. Obviously, this isn’t how head coach Zac Taylor wanted his first season in Cincinnati to go but the team can now properly start to rebuild around their top overall pick.
Entering the offseason, many believe star wide receiver A.J. Green will leave in free agency. However, recently Taylor confidently expressed that Green would be a Bengal in 2020. The team has the option to use the franchise tag if needed. The Bengals have seven picks this year, as they didn’t add any picks via trade nor are projected to receive any compensatory picks. However, they will have the top pick in each round. For the sake of this mock draft, I’m going to assume the Bengals don’t reverse their public course and have Green on the roster in 2020, whether by the franchise tag or a long term deal.
To help with this mock draft, I used the Fanspeak mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 1: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
We can start writing this pick in Sharpe; Burrow will be a Bengal on draft night. The former LSU quarterback said at the combine that he will play for the Bengals or any team that drafts him. Hopefully, we can put these trade speculations to rest now. Burrow had arguably the single best season in NCAA history, throwing for an NCAA record 60 touchdowns. The only question left with the Bengals’ quarterback room is where will Andy Dalton be traded?
Round 2, Pick 33: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Queen is considered by most draft experts to be a late first or early second-round pick. The former LSU star would be an excellent addition for a Bengals’ defense that has been awful the last few seasons. Starting linebacker Nick Vigil is an upcoming free agent and may get a bigger offer in free agency. If he leaves, the Bengals will need a new running mate to pair with last year’s third-round pick Germaine Pratt. Queen finished third on the team with 85 total tackles and second on the team with 12 for a loss last season. He would be a day one impact starter for the Bengals.
Round 3, Pick 65: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Last year’s first-round pick Jonah Williams missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. He will take over as the starter at left tackle as Cordy Glenn, assuming he isn’t traded, will be released according to reports. However, Bobby Hart shouldn’t be starting at right tackle. After selecting Burrow, the Bengals’ top priority is to keep him standing upright. Niang has experience and shown good awareness post snap, including an ability to pick up a safety blitz.
Round 4, Pick 104: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Carlos Dunlap isn’t getting any younger and just turned 32 years old a few days ago. Meanwhile, Kerry Wynn is an upcoming free agent and Carl Lawson is entering a contract year in 2020. Last year the Bengals finished tied for seventh-fewest sacks in the league with 31. Dunlap and Sam Hubbard were the only two players on the team with more than five sacks. Meanwhile, Zuniga struggled with injuries during his final season at Florida but did register 18.5 sacks during his career there. Adding some depth at defensive end in the middle rounds is a smart investment for the Bengals.
Round 5, Pick 147: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
I’ll be honest part of me wanted to make this pick because how cool would it be two have two players on the same team with the same name? Anyways, Darqueze Dennard is an upcoming free agent, while Dre Kirkpatrick while turn 31 during the 2020 season. Furthermore, William Jackson III will be a free agent after the 2020 season. Green was one of the better cornerbacks in the Big12 last year and had a strong Senior Bowl week. The Bengals can release Kirkpatrick after next season and save almost $10 million dollars in cap space, and Green would be an excellent replacement for him.
I thought Oklahoma State CB A.J. Green had a nice week in Mobile. Was physical, showed some athleticism, and always finished through the receivers hands. pic.twitter.com/rKYqG0py6V— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 27, 2020
Round 6, Pick 180: Jon Runyan, OL, Michigan
After spending a top 65 pick on the offensive line, the Bengals should double down sometime on day three. Runyan has plenty of starting experience but mostly played left tackle for Michigan. However, many scouts believe his NFL future is inside at guard or center. No matter where he lines up, the Bengals need to add depth along the offensive line. They have struggled with injuries over the past few seasons and reserve offensive lineman John Jerry is an upcoming free agent. If Runyan can play multiple spots along the line in the NFL, he will easily make the roster and be the perfect backup for the Bengals.
Round 7, Pick 215: Jordan Fuller, SAF, Ohio State
The Bengals have a solid set of starting safeties in Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates III. However, reserve safety Clayton Fejedelem is an upcoming free agent and the depth behind the starters is thin at best. During his three years as a starter at Ohio State, Fuller had over 200 tackles and five interceptions. Fuller does a good job reading the quarterback’s eyes and getting into the right position to make a play on the ball.
Ohio State DB Jordan Fuller with the INT— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 1, 2017
Kendall Sheffield with the tipped pass to set it up pic.twitter.com/gT3F4Qc6V4
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