How the Cincinnati Bengals approach the upcoming draft will largely be dictated by the moves they make in free agency. The club currently has multiple positions they will be keen to address. One of the most prominent issues will be their lack of depth at the edge rusher spot.
The question marks that surround Carl Lawson are a concern for the Bengals fanbase. Lawson has amassed 20 sacks during his four years in Cincy. He will certainly have his suitors, should he hit free agency.
The departure of Carlos Dunlap proved that Lawson had the ability to be an every-down defensive end and the Bengals should seek to lock him up long term. If that proves difficult, then the franchise tag will likely be used as a last resort.
Even with Lawson’s presence, the position feels under-powered. Sam Hubbard has been a reliable base end but lacks some dynamism. That’s partly the reason why the Bengals’ pass rush was so anemic in 2020.
With only 17 sacks last year, the Bengals must add some firepower off the edge. Last year’s fifth-round selection, Khalid Kareem, offered a glimmer of hope, but it’s safe to assume the Bengals could dip back into the well come April.
Here, we look at multiple options that the Bengals could consider at each stage of the draft. First up, we have Miami rusher Jaelan Phillips who, despite injury concerns, may be available in the second round.