Bengals trade back far more often than up in NFL Draft

Jacksonville Jaguars At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 4
Jacksonville Jaguars At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 4 /

The notoriously frugal Bengals have been more likely to trade back in the NFL Draft than they have been to move up. Holding on to the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft Cincinnati will almost definitely take Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell if he is still available. If Sewell is taken before then the Bengals could trade back in the NFL Draft.

The last time the Bengals moved up in the draft was when they traded the fifth overall pick and their fourth pick in the second round to the Carolina Panthers for the first pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. Cincinnati chose running back Ki-Jana Carter while the Panthers selected quarterback Kerry Collins with the fifth pick.

Carolina chose defensive end, Shawn King. Collins and Carter were ironically teammates on the 1994 Penn State team that went undefeated the season prior to entering the NFL. From 2017 through 2019 the Bengals frequently moved down in the draft. Those moves have often worked out.

In 2017 the Vikings traded the 48th overall pick in the second and 128th overall pick in the fourth round to the Bengals for the 41st overall pick in the second round. The Bengals chose RB Joe Mixon with their second-round draft pick and wide receiver Josh Malone with their fourth-round pick. Minnesota chose RB Dalvin Cook.

In 2018 the Bengals traded down from 12 to 21 acquiring offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and a fifth-round pick, 158 overall from the Buffalo also sending a sixth-round pick, 187th overall to the Bills. The Bengals chose center Billy Price who has not come close to living up to his projections with the 21st pick in the 2018 first-round.

Cincinnati chose defensive end Andrew Brown who is now with the Houston Texans with their sixth-round pick. Buffalo used their first-round pick to choose Vita Vea and Ray-Ray McCloud with the sixth-round pick. The Bengals also moved back in the second round with the 54th pick to take safety Jessie Bates.

Bates was named second-team All-Pro in 2020. Cincinnati acquired the pick to select Bates from Kansas City with the 78th pick overall in the third round for the 46th overall pick in the second round and the 100th overall choice in the third round. The Bengals used the third-round choice on LB Malik Jefferson.

Kansas City used their picks on defensive end Breeland Speaks and outside LB Dorian O’Daniel. The Bengals also moved back in the second round in 2019 acquiring the 52nd pick overall) a fourth-round pick 125th overall and a sixth-round pick 182nd overall from the Denver Broncos 42nd overall pick in the second round.

The Bengals chose tight end Drew Sample in the second round, defensive tackle Renell Wren and RB Trayveon Williams in the sixth round. Denver used their second-round pick to choose their current QB Drew Lock. Cincinnati also moved back in 2012 from 21st to 27th also acquiring the 93rd overall pick in the third round.

The Bengals chose guard Kevin Zeitler in the first round and DT Brandon Thompson with the third-round pick. Cincinnati made the trade with New England who chose LB Chandler Jones. Jones was a two-time first-team All-Pro and led the NFL in sacks in 2017 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals.

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Treading down in the 2021 NFL Draft to stockpile pick this year and in subsequent drafts is a good strategy for the Bengals if there is not a player on the board they feel strongly about when the Cincinnati pick comes up. The next few months with free agency and the NFL Draft will frame the Bengals’ future.