With five straight losing seasons and a 6-25-1 record over the past two seasons, the Bengals have to upgrade the talent throughout its roster with the exception of quarterback. Pro Football Focus identified the interior of the offensive line, offensive tackle and cornerback as the three main areas of need to improve.
Linebacker, tight end and a third playmaker at wide receiver are other areas Cincinnati is expected to address during the 2021 offseason. If he falls to the Bengals fifth pick in the draft, Cincinnati is expected to select Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. That could be wishful thinking with teams ahead of them needing an OT.
Jonah Williams, the Bengals first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft at OT from Alabama has played only 10 games in two seasons. Williams missed his entire rookie season with a torn labrum and the final six games of the 2020 season with a knee injury. Getting Williams healthy is critical for the Cincinnati future.
The Bengals cannot afford another injury to quarterback Joe Burrow. The season-ending injury to their franchise player cost Burrow six games in his rookie season. Those were six games for Burrow to continue to develop in the Zac Taylor offense. Going forward protecting Burrow and providing him more playmakers is important.
"CINCINNATI BENGALS: INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE, OFFENSIVE TACKLE, CORNERBACKThe Bengals have a lot of holes on the roster, and limiting their team needs to just three areas is doing it a great disservice. But given how the season ended for QB Joe Burrow — their new franchise quarterback — they need to desperately address the offensive line and protect their biggest asset.Burrow was put under pressure on 32.2% of his dropbacks this season, and 21.2% of those pressure plays resulted in a sack. Cincinnati’s offensive line as a group combined to surrender 181 total pressures and ranked 27th in the league in pass-blocking efficiency.They need to attack the offensive line in a huge way to prevent a repeat disaster."
There will be several options for the Bengals in the NFL Draft beyond Sewell at OT. Draft analysts project this to be a very deep group at OT. If they do not draft an OT with the fifth pick, the Bengals can potentially draft the best player available with the fifth pick and select an offensive lineman early in the second round.
The possibility allow lies for the Bengals to trade the fifth pick and move down to acquire more draft choices. Cincinnati will also have the option to trade one of their other early-round picks to acquire more draft capital. At this point, getting as many picks as possible to improve the entire roster is the right move for the Bengals.