In an early mock draft from Bleacher Report, the Cincinnati Bengals select a standout defensive end to be their next star in the trenches.
Mock drafts at this point in the year can often be a futile exercise. Things often drastically change in prospect rankings and teams either overachieve or fail to meet expectations, causing the draft order to be quite skewed. However, it does serve as a good starting basis for how analysts think the Cincinnati Bengals will perform in 2021, what the weaknesses on their roster may still be, and which prospects fit best in stripes.
In a mock draft by Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill, the Bengals are slated to have the fifth overall pick. While Zac Taylor, Joe Burrow, and the rest of the Queen City would certainly have something to say about this predicted outcome for the upcoming season, it seems that a large majority of the outside football world projects the Bengals to fall in this range.
For the sake of argument, let’s say Cincinnati does end up picking in the top-10. What kind of prospects might they find available?
Well, Rill has the Bengals taking the next star defensive lineman for the orange and black faithful to cheer on, Gregory Rousseau.
Rousseau certainly seems deserving of being drafted so high. Last year with the Miami Hurricanes, he racked up 15.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery as just a redshirt freshman. There was a chance he could’ve put together that kind of stat line as a true freshman, but an injury forced him to the sidelines for the year.
He’s 6’6, 260 pounds, extremely young, and bursting with potential. If the Bengals were capable of securing Rousseau, they could have the deadliest defensive line in the entire NFL.
What other options would be available for the Bengals?
If the Bengals feel comfortable with their defensive line, there are plenty of other places they could look to go with the selection, based on current projections. Unfortunately, Rill’s mock draft has two big names, Penei Sewell and Ja’Marr Chase, off the board before Cincinnati’s selection. Those two players would fit the best with the Bengals.
Still, players like linebacker Michah Parsons and offensive tackles Walker Little and Alex Leatherwood still remain available in this simulation. Any three of those prospects could be game-changers.
There are miles to go before these mock drafts have significant weight behind them. However, they serve as a good source of motivation for the Bengals and their fanbase while simultaneously highlighting players to keep an eye on during Saturday’s slate while waiting for Sunday’s matchup.