Bengals can fix offensive line without drafting Oregon OT Penei Sewell

Penei Sewell (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Penei Sewell (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

“If the Cincinnati Bengals don’t draft an offensive tackle they should be disbanded and revoked from the NFL.”

While selecting an offensive tackle with the fifth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is the bold take of ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum, it is also an example of a growing sentiment among non-Bengals followers. This mindset is not only laughable and inflammatory on its face, but it’s also not rooted in the reality of the situation.

Here are the facts: the Bengals already have four of their five offensive line spots set for the 2021 season. At left tackle, Jonah Williams is set to build off of an impressive first year as a starter. Veterans Quinton Spain and Xavier Su’a-Filo are set to compete for the starting job at left guard.

If healthy, Trey Hopkins will return as the starting center, and if not, new offensive line coach Frank Pollack is a fan of Billy Price. Newly acquired offensive tackle Riley Reiff is bound to be a huge upgrade at right tackle. Given these facts, the Bengals really only have an immediate need at right guard.

The Bengals could need a OT to take over for Reiff in 2022, but right tackle is not as big of a need as those out of the know would have you believe. Analysts who believe selecting LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase fifth would be an unforgivable sin act as if doing so would leave franchise quarterback Joe Burrow without protection.

However, as previously evidenced, this is not the case. Above-average guards are regularly found outside of the first round and the Bengals should have a slew of good options on day two in

Wyatt Davis

from Ohio State, Tennessee OL

Trey Smith

and Georgia Guard

Ben Cleveland


Pairing one of these guards with Chase in the first would give the Bengals a starting OL capable of protecting Burrow in 2021 while also giving him one of the best trios of receivers in the NFL. However, an earlier concern still remains. If the Bengals only need a right guard in this draft, then OT will pop up again next year.

The myth here is that the Bengals can’t get the best of both worlds. There are multiple OTs that could potentially be available in the second round who would be capable of starting their career at guard and then moving to OT once Reiff is gone.

Alex Leatherwood of Alabama, Jalen Mayfield of Michigan and Dillon Radunz from North Dakota State are OTs the Bengals could consider in the second round. Cincinnati could double up on the OL from the second through fourth rounds.

Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg could be the pick at 38 and sit behind Reiff and develop for a year. Since this still leaves a hole at RG, the Bengals can go right back to the OL in the third round with a player like Smith.

In this scenario, the Bengals both fill their future need at OT and their immediate need at RG while being able to reunite Burrow with his former top receiver. This is just one of the many realistic scenarios that Sewell-truthers can’t seem to consider.

Next. Bengals should leave NFL if they don't draft OT per NFL analyst. dark

Sewell is a great prospect and he would be a good selection with the fifth pick, but let’s cut it out with the hyperbole. If the Bengals take Chase, it’s not the end of the world, no matter what the national media might tell you.