Bengals: 2020 draft class highly regarded one year later

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals selected seven players in the 2020 NFL Draft and their draft was praised heavily at the time. One year later, Mike Renner — after revisiting his grades for teams’ 2020 drafts — has stuck to his guns with his “A” grade for the Bengals.

Renner didn’t have much to say about his “re-grade”, but did offer this:

"Joe Burrow was as advertised but just didn’t have much help in the way of protection. And Tee Higgins was better than advertised. He racked uo 908 yards in essentially only 14 games."

Yeah, it’s hard to argue with the production of the Bengals’ first two picks in last year’s draft. Here was their entire haul from the 2020 NFL Draft:

  • Round 1, Pick 1 – Joe Burrow
  • Round 2: Pick 33 – Tee Higgins
  • Round 3: Pick 65 – Logan Wilson
  • Round 4: Pick 107 – Akeem Davis-Gaither
  • Round 5: Pick 147 –  Khalid Kareem
  • Round 6: Pick 180 – Hakeem Adeniji
  • Round 7: Pick 215 – Markus Bailey

The Bengals’ 2020 draft class did well in year one.

Out of this group, five started at least one game as rookies and four will be likely starters in 2021. Even the non-starters had something to offer, as Kareem appeared in all 16 games and Bailey appeared in 11 games. The Bengals got the most out of their rookies and if this group can take a leap in year two, the team will be better off because of it.

Obviously, Burrow will be the one judged the heaviest because he was a quarterback taken not just in the first round, but No. 1 overall. We didn’t get to see everything Burrow had in the tank in year one due to getting injured in Week 11 but he’s healthy and hopefully, the offensive line can protect him this year.

As Renner noted, Higgins was also an excellent addition and the weapon Burrow needed as a rookie quarterback. Wilson and Davis-Gaither were taken in the third and fourth rounds respectively but each started and will continue to be starters in the sophomore seasons.

Next. Bengals: 5 Free Agents Who Could Improve Roster. dark

This is a draft class that Bengals fans will hopefully be able to look back at and point to the beginning of the team’s climb back to relevancy. If nothing else, they can look back at the drafting of Burrow and how that gave this team one of the promising young quarterbacks in the league.