Likelihood of Bengals first-round pick ranked by position

Likelihood of Bengals first-round pick ranked by position

3 years ago
4 min read

The NFL Draft is fast approaching, as the Bengals prepare for their second top-five pick in a row. As a team that has gone 6-25-1 over the last two seasons, it’s highly important they get their first-round pick right at the very least.

Now, if you’ve been reading mock drafts on a daily basis for several months, this list shouldn’t be all that surprising. But if you’re just now getting amped for the draft later this month, use this list to help give you an idea of what position Cincinnati is likely to address with the fifth overall selection.

13. Any special teams position

Who knows if kicker Austin Seibert ends up being the long-term answer, but let’s just put it this way. If Roger Goodell goes on stage to announce the Bengals have taken any kicker, punter, or long-snapper with the fifth pick, Paul Brown Stadium might be burned to the ground.

12. Quarterback

I will never hate the idea of drafting a quarterback every year to give your team insurance. But not in the first round, and not a year after you proudly made Joe Burrow the franchise guy. This won’t be happening either.

11. Safety

This has less to do with the solid, albeit unspectacular combo of Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates III and more to do with the safety draft class. TCU’s Trevon Moehrig is currently projected as the top safety, but he’s also someone with a borderline second-round grade. An intriguing option to address later, but not at pick five.

10. Center

There are many questions about the incumbent Billy Price, a first-round pick in 2018 who has made just nine starts in the last two seasons. The Bengals won’t address it early, but I would imagine they will have drafted a center by the time all three days of the draft are over.

9. Running back

It would be one thing if Cincinnati had a QB, a dynamic group of receivers, and a stud offensive line already in place and needed a running back to complete it all. But instead, they have Joe Mixon, recently signed to a long-term deal, so throwing this pick at someone like Clemson’s Travis Etienne or Alabama’s Najee Harris just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

8. Offensive Guard

Much like center, the Bengals have questions about both of their starting guards. Michael Jordan has disappointed in his first two seasons in the Queen City, while Xavier Su’a-Filo managed just five starts in his first season with the team last year. Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater and USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker are both projected first-round picks, but it’s more like Cincy looks at someone like Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis in round two.

7. Defensive Tackle

Cincinnati shelled out some money in free agency for Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi, but the defensive tackle position could still use some depth. However, it appears that this year’s d-tackle class is severely lacking in high-end talent, especially when you compare it to recent years. The value at pick five just doesn’t add up for the Bengals to go after a DT.

6. Cornerback

Between Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn, no one would bat an eye if one or both of them ended up being top-10 selections. However, the Bengals invested quite a bit of money last year in Trae Waynes and this year in Chidobe Awuzie. With a new-look corner duo set to start, the Bengals will likely look for slot corners or backups later in the draft.

5. Defensive end

This is where things start to get interesting, as the Bengals had fewer sacks (17) than any team in football last season. There are also about four to six edge rushers who could be selected in the first round, including Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Miami’s Jaelan Phillips. However, it’s a deep class, and one the Bengals are likelier to target on day two than in the top-five on day one.

4. Linebacker

I combined outside and inside linebacker, but realistically there is just one LB who Cincinnati would even consider with the fifth pick. Penn State’s Micah Parsons is the unquestioned top linebacker in this draft class, a guy who has a high ceiling who would be an impact player for the Bengals. While it certainly would be a surprise to see Parsons as the pick, it certainly wouldn’t be anywhere as far-fetched as if they took any of the previously mentioned positions instead.

3. Tight end

Much like linebacker, the likelihood of the Bengals taking a tight end with the fifth pick can be tied to one person. Florida’s Kyle Pitts is one of the best tight end prospects in years and someone who can make Burrow’s life a lot easier. Their needs may be slightly greater at two other positions, but it’s hard to pass up a guy like Pitts, who some teams may view as the best non-QB prospect in this draft class.

2. Offensive tackle

Burrow was sacked 32 times in 10 starts last season, and with former first-round pick Jonah Williams and new free-agent acquisition Riley Reiff manning the tackle positions, a long-term solution will likely be discussed a great deal. After all, protecting the franchise quarterback is likely their biggest priority heading into the draft. With that being said, the reason OT isn’t number one is because there is just one player, Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who realistically would be the selection at number five, although a trade down isn’t a crazy thought.

1. Wide Receiver

While Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are nice, the Bengals will be looking aggressively to add a future number one receiver this draft. And with the dynamic trio of LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, Cincy will likely have their pick of the litter at number five. The chance to take any of them with the fifth pick represents the likeliest scenario for the Bengals in this year’s draft.

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