Bengals 2020 NFL Draft Class is special

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Bengals 2020 NFL Draft is a special one that has contributed significantly as rookies.

The Bengals 2020 NFL Draft Class led by quarterback Joe Burrow is developing into a special one. Burrow and wide receiver Tee Higgins have significantly upgraded the Cincinnati offense. Burrow has completed 65.4 percent of his passing attempts for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

With130 yards rushing and three TDs Burrow has contributed on the ground. Burrow and Higgins are quickly developing into one of the best QB-WR combinations in the NFL for the future. Higgins has 40 receptions for 603 receiving yards and four TDs with five carries for 28 yards rushing.

Linebacker Logan Wilson out of Wyoming was the Bengals third-round pick after Burrow and Higgins were taken in the first two rounds. After playing less than a third of the defensive snaps in the first three games, Wilson has played close to 50 percent in four of the last five games with 42 percent in the second game against Cleveland.

Wilson has 22 tackles, three tackles for loss, two QB hits and one sack. Currently, on the depth chart behind free agent signee Josh Bynes, Wilson should push for a starting role in 2021. Bynes is fourth on Cincinnati with 52 tackles, two TFLs, one QB hit and one sack. Bynes has a one-year contract with the Bengals.

The one common theme the Bengals went with in the 2020 draft class was selecting college captains. It was clearly an element Cincinnati wanted for the future of its roster. Cultivating leaders on a young team are important and no one has led more than Burrow. The 2020 Draft Class will mature together.

Three of the next four selections in the 2020 NFL Draft were on the desperately needed defense. Linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither has been a frequent contributor on the Bengals defense as a rookie. Davis-Gaither has 15 tackles, two TFLs, one QB hit, a half-sack and one pass breakup.

Davis-Gaither has played more than half the snaps on special teams in every game this season. At the very least having an important contributor on special teams who adds depth at LB is an important player for the future. Adding depth at LB was obviously a point for the Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Davis-Gaither has played well in the Bengals blowout losses. The former Appalachian State Mountaineer had four tackles and a pass breakup against Baltimore and three tackles playing just 18 percent of the defensive snaps in the loss on Sunday to Pittsburgh. The Bengals LBs have a bright future.

Seventh-round pick Markus Bailey missed all but two games his last season at Purdue in 2019 with a knee injury. Bailey has played only four offensive snaps while playing 52 on special teams for Cincinnati as a rookie. The future for Bailey appears to most likely be depth on the roster and a contributor on special teams.

Defensive end Khalid Kareem was the Bengals fifth-round pick in 2020 and has become a key part of the rotation since Carlos Dunlap was traded to Seattle. Before Dunlap was traded, Kareem played 61 snaps in five games and no more than 29 percent of the defensive snaps in any one game.

Since Dunlap was traded Kareem has played 112 defensive snaps in four games and no less than 35 percent of the snaps on defense. In nine games this season Kareem 12 tackles playing in all nine games. Kareem is currently being used more as a situational pass rusher but should push for more playing time.

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Offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji was the Bengals’ sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Injuries and COVID-19 limitations have pressed Adeniji into playing every snap on the offensive line over the past two games. Adeniji played 138 snaps on offense after playing seven snaps on offense in the first seven games.