The Penei Sewell-Ja’Marr Chase debate may finally be buried after 2021, as the Cincinnati Bengals 2021 draft haul gets straight A’s across the board.
Now this is a report card you’d take home to your parents.
Chase wasn’t the only standout from the 2021 NFL Draft — the rookie wideout is joined by Evan McPherson, who has proven to be one of the most reliable kickers in the league despite his relative inexperience.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox graded every NFL team’s 2021 draft class factoring in injuries, supporting talent, and coaching.
Cincinnati unsurprisingly got an excellent grade:
The Bengals definitely deserve bonus points for pulling the trigger on Chase. However, we can’t judge Cincinnati on that pick alone. The other big get in this group was kicker Evan McPherson, who figures to fill Cincinnati’s special teams need for the foreseeable future.
Chase and McPherson were home run selections, but the Bengals are banking heavily on future production with the rest of this class. It’s shaping up to be a great group, but not the best class of 2021.
Cincinnati Bengals’ 2021 draft class gets excellent marks
Knox notes that the offensive line did suffer in 2021, allowing Joe Burrow to get sacked a league-high 51 times.
The O-line may have been barely good enough this season in pass protection, but the trade-off has paid handsome dividends. Burrow and Chase form one of the most threatening quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL, and they’re still going strong: Chase is coming off a playoff game where he led the team with nine catches for 116 yards.
Apart from Chase, fifth-rounder Evan McPherson has been automatic. The rest of the Bengals’ class didn’t see the field much, with second-rounder OT Jackson Carman and sixth-rounder center Trey Hill playing a handful of games each. Neither player has a particularly bright future as a long-term starter but shouldn’t be considered duds.
Defensive ends Joseph Ossai and Cameron Sample also will need time to grow into the position; Ossai missed all of 2021 due to injury, and Sample has been far outshined by Trey Hendrickson and other veterans on the team.
Could the Bengals hit another homer with their 2022 draft class? The bar has been set pretty high.