Bengals: It’s time to keep an eye out for top 2021 draft prospects

As the Cincinnati Bengals continue to rack up losses, they increase their chances of drafting within the top five again next year.

Sitting at 1-5-1, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves firmly planted in last place of the AFC North, and it doesn’t look like many more wins are going to come throughout the rest of the 2020 campaign. Zac Taylor’s squad still has to play the undefeated Pittsburg Steelers, the surging Baltimore Ravens, and the superbly coached Tennessee Titans.

Granted, there are some seemingly winnable games left on the slate such as matchups against the New York Giants, The Washington Football Team, and the Houston Texans. However, given the club’s inability to secure victories in tightly contested games, no one can be sure they find wins against their fellow floundering franchises.

Perhaps Joe Burrow can carry the Bengals past a number of the bottom tier teams, but a more realistic expectation is two-three more wins on the season. If the final destination of the Cincinnati squad indeed ends up where it looks to be heading, Duke Tobin and co. will once again be turning in a draft card within the first five selections of the 2021 draft.

With that, it’s worth looking ahead at some of the premier prospects they could have an eye on.

O-line help, bolstering the pass rush, or an exciting playmaker for the Bengals?

Although an unprecedented college football season has thrown things a bit off track, we still have a pretty good idea of who will be the most coveted prospects come next April. Luckily for the orange and black faithful, some of the top players to keep an eye on happen to play positions that the Bengals are weakest at.

When hearing the word “weak” and “Bengals” in the same sentence, almost everybody’s thoughts jump to the offensive trenches in the Queen City. There’s no denying the club needs help in that department and with the talent slated to be available, they’d be crazy not to jump all over the opportunity to better protect Joe Burrow.

Of course, the biggest name out there is offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the star from Oregon. At just 20 years old, he’s solidified himself as far and away the best offensive lineman prospect with no real weaknesses in his game.

He’s a mauler in the run game and a fluid athlete in pass protection. He’ll only get better as time goes on and his selection would give the Bengals two young and extremely talented bookends for the foreseeable future. What a change of pace that would be.

In order to select Sewell, however, Cincinnati would need to pick within the top three. They could certainly end up there but it seems more likely they could wind up in the five-ten range. Thankfully, the front office could still find a day-one starter in that area of the draft in guard Wyatt Davis.

Davis would be an instant upgrade and bring a physicality to the Bengals’ offensive line that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. The running lanes opened up for Joe Mixon behind the Buckeye phenom is the type of thing coaches and fans alike dream of.

Although the offensive line is the top priority, Cincinnati’s weaknesses extend far beyond that unit. They need help rushing the passer, especially with Carlos Dunlap seemingly on his way out the door and the lack of production from the others already on the roster. That’s where Gregory Rousseau could really help the team find their footing.

The 6’5, 260-pound edge rusher racked up an astounding 15.5 sacks as a true sophomore for the Miami Hurricanes a year ago. That kind of production could transform a Bengals defense that has been unable to stop much of anyone.

You can’t forget about Burrow’s old running mate Ja’Marr Chase either. The LSU product is an elite receiver and would make the Bengals’ offense even more lethal than it’s already shown it has the potential to be.

It’s been a tough season for those residing within Cincinnati and the coming weeks are sure to carry with them more heartbreak. However, taking a look at how next year’s star-studded prospects can transform the team should help distract you from the woes witnessed on Sundays.