Cincinnati Bengals 2021 NFL Draft Recapby Charlie Parent May 3, 2021 1 comment
It was a draft filled with ups and downs for the Cincinnati Bengals and one that had some controversy to it. It started in the first round with the selection of wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Many thought the Bengals should have gone with offensive lineman Penei Sewell to protect Joe Burrow, who is coming off an ACL tear. They opted to reunite Chase and Burrow and wait to take offensive line later. When it became the time to take o-line in the second-round, they traded back with the Patriots and waited to take their lineman even later. They finally did get their guy in Jackson Carman, who will be a nice guard for them but has a lot to develop. In the later rounds, the Bengals took some hit or miss prospects and even a kicker but overall had a really nice draft.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Joseph Ossai (Round 3, Pick 69)
This one was an absolute steal. Many people believed there was no chance that Ossai would be on the board here, and yet he ended up falling right into the Bengals’ laps. Ossai is a freaky pass-rusher who will certainly be used as an outside linebacker in the Bengals’ 3-4 defensive scheme. He definitely has some work to do, especially against bigger and stronger tackles, but Ossai should be able to carve out a really nice role for himself in this defense.
For more on Ossai, check out our scouting report here.
Worst Pick: D’ante Smith (Round 4, Pick 139)
It was really hard finding a bad pick in this entire Bengals draft class, but Smith is a guy who will not see much time early on in his career. He’s an average-sized tackle at 6’5″ but will need to add some significant weight to succeed in the league. Currently, he’s 310 lbs which is not nearly enough for a tackle. This is really not a bad pick by any means, but with a majority of selections looking to get early playtime, Smith just takes the fall here.
Sleeper Pick: Chris Evans (Round 6, Pick 202)
The more you think about this pick, the better it sounds. With the loss of Giovani Bernard this offseason, the Bengals need their next pass-catching back. Evans can do exactly this. He lined up all over the place at Michigan and had some nice success carrying the ball as well. The odds are against Evans being an eight-year production back like Bernard was, but he’s got all the tools to make it work. If he can show what he can do early, he can be the perfect guy to back up Joe Mixon.
After a pretty poor 2020 season, the Bengals are in much better shape this year. They’ve rebuilt their offensive line, added weapons, and filled needs. They played this draft very close to perfect. Out of the 10 selections they made, it seems only one or two won’t be involved in some way at the start of their season. After getting their franchise guy in 2019, the Bengals continue to add on, and the future is looking really bright in Cincinnati.
Overall Grade: A