Bengals draft alternatives if they address OL in free agency

Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bengals have to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason. There has been a lot of focus on Cincinnati drafting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell if he is available with the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bengals could go a different direction if they are able to upgrade their OL in free agency.

Pro Football Focus published an article on Monday that projected the Bengals to bypass Sewell and select the former college teammate of Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth pick. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence appears to be the only guarantee at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Lawrence is close to a lock to be selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first pick in 2021. PFF projects BYU QB Zach Wilson second to the New York Jets, Sewell to the Miami Dolphins third and Ohio State QB Justin Fields to the Atlanta Falcons fourth. That would be a homecoming for the former Buckeyes QB.

ESPN wondered in an article posted on Tuesday titled “NFL draft 2021 top-10 pick scenarios: How each team would approach draft-night what-ifs.” The worldwide leader in sports posted a few questions about which direction the Bengals could go in the NFL Draft and how they could handle how picks evolve that night.

"“5. Cincinnati BengalsWhat would the Bengals do here if … they signed offensive tackle Taylor Moton or guard Joe Thuney in free agency in March (and OT Penei Sewell is off the board)? In this scenario, the Bengals will have plenty more options at No. 5, considering they already helped achieve the top task of protecting quarterback Joe Burrow.If the needs on the offensive line are filled, Cincinnati can look at getting Burrow a big weapon in the passing game such as Ja’Marr Chase. Remember, Chase played at LSU with Burrow. He’s the logical move if free agency and the draft board fall this way. But the fun pick? How about Florida’s Kyle Pitts?He could take Burrow and the Bengals’ offense to another level and has the potential to be a game-changing tight end for years to come. — Ben Baby”"

PFF named Joe Thuney Bengals top FA prospect. light. Related Story

Moton is an offensive tackle that has started in every game for the Detroit Lions the last three seasons and played every snap in 2020. Moton is a right tackle. His signing would present the Bengals with the decision to move Moton or 2019 first-round pick, Jonah Williams, to LT. Upgrading the OL is an offseason priority.

Adding playmakers to help out Burrow will be another offseason priority for the Bengals. Chase or Pitts are intriguing options for Cincinnati. The question with Pitts is that it’s risky to draft a tight end that high in the draft. Travis Kelce of Kansas City and Darren Waller of Las Vegas were the only elite receiving TEs in 2020.

Next. PFF names three Bengals top 100 free agents. dark

Kelce and Waller were the only TEs to finish in the top 30 in receptions and top 50 in receiving yards in 2020.  Pitts had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2020 in eight games. Chase had 84 for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs catching passes from Burrow in 2019. Chase is the far more likely pick for Cincinnati.