PFF: After Ja’Marr Chase in first-round Bengals get their offensive tackle

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 13: (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 13: (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The 2021 NFL Draft is deep in offensive tackles. Although most mock drafts project the Bengals to take Oregon OT Penei Sewell with the fifth pick if he is available, Pro Football Focus projects Cincinnati to take former LSU wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase. Selecting Chase would allow Cincinnati to draft an OT in the second round.

Drafting Chase with their first-round pick would reunite Chase and Cincinnati franchise quarterback Joe Burrow who were teammates from 2018-19 with the Bayou Bengals. Chase led LSU in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2019 during the Tigers National Championship season.

PFF projects that the Bengals would select Oklahoma State OT Tevin Jenkins in the second round, 38th overall. Cincinnati last used a first-round pick on an OT in the first round on Jonah Williams in 2019. Williams has struggled with injuries throughout his NFL career and could be moved inside for the 2021 season.

Moving Williams inside will depend on what Cincinnati does in free agency and the NFL Draft. Williams is 6’6, 320 pounds and ranked 25th overall by PFF. In 2020, according to PFF “allowed only four pressures on 211 pass-blocking snaps.” There are several other OTs that should be on the board early in the second round.

"38. CINCINNATI BENGALS: T TEVEN JENKINS, OKLAHOMA STATEThe ideal scenario for the Bengals’ offensive line this offseason would be the following: 1) Bring guard Joe Thuney back home in free agency, 2) sign a low-cost right tackle in free agency, such as Matt Feiler or Kelvin Beachum, to a one- or two-year deal and 3) draft a right tackle with the 38th overall pick.Burrow will be protected and prospering when he returns from injury if Cincy obliges. Jenkins was a mainstay on the Pokes’ offensive line over the past three years and performed at a high level in each campaign. The lack of true pass sets Oklahoma State tasked him with is a bit of a concern.Just 128 of his 946 snaps in the past three years were a true pass set. That said, Jenkins posted an elite 90.0 pass-blocking grade on those snaps, which would have been the best at the position had he played enough snaps to qualify.On top of that, Jenkins also posted the second-best run-block grade among right tackles over the course of that span. He has the upper-body strength to handle NFL edge rushers. The only concern is Jenkins’ shorter arm length, which — as PFF lead draft analyst Mike Renner detailed in his tackle rankings — could move him inside at the next level.Either way, the Bengals could use a guy like Jenkins."

If Jenkins is selected and moved inside, the Bengals could always keep Williams at left tackle or flip him to the right side. Cincinnati desperately needs to upgrade its offensive line in 2021. Protecting Burrow will be a priority during the 2021 offseason and likely in 2022. The Bengals offense has a chance to be elite with Burrow at QB.

Next. PFF projects Chase to Bengals as Sewell falls in NFL Draft. dark

With the projection by PFF that the Bengals select a RT with their second-round pick it’s clear that they believe Williams will be the left tackle. That contradicts the analysis from other media outlets during the offseason. With NFL free agency beginning on March 17, the Bengals 2021 roster will start taking shape in about three weeks.