If offensive tackle Penei Sewell is off the board when the Bengals are on the clock, they’ll be faced with a tough decision to make.
The Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2020 season with high hopes. Having finally snagged their franchise quarterback with the first overall pick, Zac Taylor’s squad was hoping to build around Joe Burrow and put a competitive team on the field. For the vast majority of the season, however, they have struggled to put wins together. That is, until recently.
The Bengals enter the final week of the regular season riding a two-game winning streak. While it is a welcome breath of fresh air to see the team win, it also means that Cincinnati is falling-down in the 2021 draft order.
When the Bengals were slotted in at the third spot for most of the season, it seemed destined that Penei Sewell would become a Bengal. After all, Cincinnati struggled to protect Burrow all year. So, adding the best offensive line talent seemed like a guaranteed match.
Now with Cincinnati slated to hold the fifth overall pick, there is a good chance Sewell is gone before the Bengals are on the clock. Even though there are some top talents in this draft, if Sewell is unavailable, the Bengals should not consider drafting anyone. They should consider instead trading back in the draft.
The Bengals need the extra draft capital
Entering the draft with many holes that need to be filled means the Bengals should take the best player available stance and look solely at talent, and not at what position the player plays.
There are only a few players in this draft that are “can’t miss prospects”. Sewell, along with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields classify as such. Beyond those three, there is a huge pool of talented players that the Bengals could draft from and be happy. Rather than choose from that pool at number five, Cincinnati could collect a few more assets, potentially from a quarterback hungry team looking to move up.
Even with a trade down, the front office would still have a shot at players like Kwity Paye, DeVonta Smith, Kyle Pitts, Wyatt Davis, or Christian Darrisaw. All of these players look to have promising NFL careers ahead of them and would fill positions of need for Cincinnati.
Unless the Bengals absolutely believe only one of this group is going to succeed in the NFL, they would be best suited by falling back, collecting additional draft capital, and still ending up with a stellar player.