Bengals build around Joe Burrow in 7-round 2021 mock draft
By Aaron Burd
Round 6 Pick 183: James Empey, C, BYU
Bengals’ starting center Trey Hopkins tore his ACL in the last game of the season. This was a very unfortunate development for a team that already has so much work to do on the offensive line.
While B.J. Finney or Billy Price will be a starter in Hopkins’ absence, it wouldn’t hurt for the Bengals to find some depth at the position, even if that depth ends up never leaving the practice squad. James Empey of BYU is a center that has earned high grades from Pro Football Focus.
Empey is not going to transform the Bengals’ offensive line by any means, but he would be a big help in the depth department.
Round 7 Pick 226: DJ Daniel, CB, Georgia
The Bengals are at a weird spot when it comes to the cornerback position. If William Jackson III and Mackensie Alexander return in free agency, they are set. If they leave, the Bengals are in big trouble. Jackson III and Alexander will likely be top priorities for the Bengals this offseason, so that should not be a huge concern yet.
The Bengals could still use some depth at CB and DJ Daniel would be a solid addition in the seventh round. Daniel recorded nine passes defended in his 21 games at Georgia.
Round 7 Pick 248: Ben Brown, OG, Ole Miss
Taking Sewell is not be all the Bengals need to do to revamp the offensive line. However, the rest of those improvements should come in free agency. Coming back from an ACL injury, Burrow would be in big trouble if he were relying on multiple rookies to block for him. The Bengals should know better than to subject him to that.
While the Bengals won’t draft any starters on the line other than Sewell, they could still use some of their selections to add depth.
Empey adds depth at the center spot, but the guard position could use some depth as well. Ben Brown from Ole Miss is a player who could potentially earn a roster spot as a rookie, even if he’s not going to save the Bengals from their offensive line woes.