Bengals head coach Zac Taylor no room for 2021 NFL Draft errors
There is an ongoing debate happening in the Bengals-sphere. Who is Cincinnati going to pick fifth overall in the NFL Draft pick later this month? Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, LSU wide receiver Ja’marr Chase, trade back, or even Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons are all options.
No matter Who Dey selects, head coach Zac Taylor more than likely has carte blanche when it comes to making this choice. Taylor has no room for error. This goes well beyond the first round, however. Taylor must find the diamonds in the rough throughout the draft. And let’s be clear, it is on him.
The organization has signed six defensive free agents and OT Riley Reiff. This is a good indication that more than likely, this will be an offensive-heavy draft early on. And the person with the final say will more than likely fall to the head coach and de-facto offensive coordinator, Zac Taylor.
There can be no developmental players in round two or anticipating expiring veteran contracts in 2022. Taylor has no time for that as the front office has more than likely become impatient with the lack of success despite remaining “bullish” on the head coach.
Once the 2022 NFL draft has concluded, Taylor needs to put Bengals players in positions to succeed. There is no point in drafting generational tight end prospect Kyle Pitts from Florida if he’s going to pass block defensive ends. That has been a staple of the Zac Taylor offense over the past two seasons.
There will be steals on both sides of the ball available in the upcoming draft. The head coach and Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin must find this year the steal of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Kansas City City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, New England Patriots guard Michael Owenu, running back Antonio Gibson and safety Kamren Curl both of Washington all were picked after the third round last year. All of whom made various lists as some of the top rookies of the 2020 season.
Last year’s draft was a good one for the Bengals. According to Pro Football Focus, it was the best from the 2020 season. This year, early returns from the draft must go even further. The production must go beyond the first three picks.
If the team is able to combine last year’s influx of young players with a new offensive-leaning draft class that can contribute right away, Taylor might be able to right the ship. We are going to find out a lot about Taylor when it comes to talent evaluation and roster construction.
Taylor must have a plan and execute said plan flawlessly no matter who the team selects with the fifth overall pick. Taylor must then put the players in the best situation to succeed. If not, this could be the last draft for Taylor as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.