Bengals best and worst case offseason scenarios
The Bengals face a critical offseason entering the second season of the Joe Burrow era. Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury week nine in the Bengals’ 10th game of the 2020 season against the Washington Football Team. Free agency and the NFL Draft will be important to upgrade the roster for 2021.
Sitting at fifth in the 2021 NFL Draft the decision on who the Bengals select might be determined on who is available. Most expect that if Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is still on the board that is the direction the Bengals will go in. Other projections have Cincinnati reuniting LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with Burrow.
Chase led the Tigers receivers in 2019 with 1,780 yards, 21 touchdown receptions and the regulars with 21.2 yards per reception. Pro Football Focus recently examined the “Best-case, worst-case scenarios for all 32 NFL teams.” PFF projected that the best-case scenario is to draft Chase and upgrade the OL through free-agency.
In their focus on the Bengals, PFF projects the Bengals worst-case scenario is in their words is to “take a tackle with the No. 5 overall pick and don’t make a power play for a standout offensive lineman in free agency.” Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl with rookie Tristan Wirfs starting all 16 games.
"CINCINNATI BENGALSBest-case: They reunite Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase and revamp the OL in free agencyWorst-case: They take a tackle with the No. 5 overall pick and don’t make a power play for a standout offensive lineman in free agency. Cincy’s offensive line has been one of the five lowest-graded units in the NFL in each of the last four years. They came in at No. 30 in combined offensive line PFF grade in 2020.Jonah Williams was a strong performer in his first year of NFL action, ranking 13th among left tackles in true pass set grade, and center Trey Hopkins produced an above-average pass-block grade at his respective position for the second straight year. The other three positions were a liability.Taylor Moton and Joe Thuney both hitting free agency would be the dream scenario for the Bengals. Moton is the fourth-highest-graded right tackle over the last three years, while Thuney is the fourth-highest-graded left guard over the last three years. The Bengals could then make a play on one or even both.Then they could take former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase No. 5 overall to reunite with Joe Burrow. Chase and Burrow teamed up for more deep catches (24) and touchdowns (14) than any other QB-WR connection in the PFF College era in their championship run in 2019."
Wirfs was the highest-graded player
in Super Bowl LV by PFF. The Bengals could draft Sewell and plug him in immediately as an elite OL. Cincinnati needs help at more than one position on the OL. If the Bengals can sign either Moton or Thuney while drafting Sewell the OL instantly improves.
The 2021 NFL Draft is deep at WR and on the OL. Depending on who is available with the fifth pick in the NFL Draft, the Bengals could take either the best available OL or WR and take the other position in the second round. The Bengals also need help on the interior of the OL and at cornerback.
Williams has had injury problems in his first two NFL seasons. The former Alabama OL missed his entire rookie season and played in 10 games in 2020, Adding depth at OT will be important for the Bengals future. The best-case scenario would be filling all the positions of need. The worst case would be a position of need that remains open.