Bengals Day 3 draft picks will battle for playing time in 2021

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Shelvin vs Josh Tupou

There was no surprise to see the Bengals attack the defensive tackle spot in the mid-rounds. However, it wasn’t a three-technique of the future they looked to land.

In a class that lacked depth to provide a Geno Atkins replacement, the Bengals instead turned to a mauling run-stuffer. Tyler Shelvin will be reunited with college teammates Joe Burrow and Chase.

The hope is that Burrow and Chase will encourage him to keep his motor running hot. While he wasn’t imposing on a down-to-down basis, Shelvin is a massive human who will provide a solid option behind D.J. Reader.

On paper, the position didn’t seem to be a huge need but last season was a disaster. High-profile free agent Reader lost most of his first season in Cincy due to a quad injury. Going into the year, the coaching staff had been bullish about backup Josh Tupou. Tupou opted out due to Covid-19. The Bengals filled the spot with free agents.

That has left the door ajar for a figure like Shelvin. The Bengals will likely ease Reader back to action, preserving him ready for the start of the season. The drafting of the LSU nose tackle should light a fire under incumbents Tupou and also Rennell Wren who has had an injury blighted start to his professional career.

The Bengals allowed the fourth-most rushing yards in the league last year and stopping the running game has to become a priority. With numerous options now available defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will be hoping to see a significant upturn in performance.