In an interview with play-by-play announcer Dan Hoard, on the Bengals Booth Podcast, Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin stated the accomplishments made in free agency will allow them to select the best player available in the 2021 NFL Draft. Cincinnati holds the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati has signed several free agents during the 2021 offseason who are projected starters. Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuize and Mike Hilton and defensive end Trey Hendricksen and offensive tackle Riley Reiff are potential impact players for Cincinnati in 2021. The free agents solidify weaknesses on the Bengals roster.
The signings of Awuzie and Hilton alter the Bengals’ need to draft a CB. Edge rusher, guard, offensive tackle and wide receiver are the biggest needs for Cincinnati entering the 2021 NFL Draft. Most projections even before free agency have Cincinnati selecting either LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase or Oregon OT Penei Sewell.
Pro Football Focus ranks Chase fourth, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts fifth and Chase sixth on their big board. The Bengals are in a position that the highest-ranked players match their position of need with the fifth pick. Chase, Pitts, or Sewell will be on the board when the Bengals select fifth later this month. Tobin summarized.
“What we were able to do in free agency is fill enough needs where we can go into the draft and feel good about taking the best players available…And not passing up super-talented players to make maybe a reach for a position of need. What we got accomplished in free agency, I feel like we’re in a position to do that.”
Drafting Chase, Pitts or Sewell is a win for the Bengals. Cincinnati will likely add an impact player ready to contribute in 2021 and be able to appease fans with their selection. Tobin sounds confident in what the Bengals did in free agency to put them in a good position entering the 2021 NFL Draft.
After selecting quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in 2020 and wide receiver Tee Higgins in the second round, the Bengals are building a foundation for the future. Another playmaker or OL to protect Burrow is critical for the future. Cincinnati will likely add defense in the middle rounds.