The 2020 NFL season looked bright for the Cincinnati Bengals after selecting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. That has hardly been the case for the Bengals. For the second consecutive year, the Bengals own a top-five pick in the draft. They find themselves in a prime position to add more young talent in this 2021 Bengals 7-round NFL Mock Draft.
Utilizing the PFN Mock Draft Simulator, we look at how the Bengals can fill their most significant needs in the 2021 NFL Draft. Could the Bengals shock the draft community early? Could they solidify their offensive line for Joe Burrow? With their first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock.
Bengals Pre-Senior Bowl 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
- Round 1, Pick 5: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Round 2, Pick 38: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
- Round 3, Pick 69: Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
- Round 4, Pick 101: Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
- Round 5, Pick 132: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
- Round 6, Pick 165: Camryn Bynum, CB, California
- Round 7, Pick 195: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
- Round 7, Pick 199: Jack Anderson, OG, Texas
Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft pick-by-pick analysis
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Bengals offensive line was abysmal this season. This was evident by the nearly 50 sacks allowed by the unit. 32 of those sacks came when Burrow was under center. The team has invested high draft picks in the past on offensive linemen. These include 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams and 2018 first-round selection Billy Price. An upgrade is clearly needed, especially with Bobby Hart at right tackle.
This pick may come as a shock to many, but Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater has been one of the biggest risers in the draft pre-Senior Bowl. The Bengals take him with the fifth pick in this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft. Slater was named as one of the best run blocking offensive linemen in the Big Ten. He has the versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line.
Some may doubt his length at the position, but what he lacks in strength, he makes up for with great athleticism and technique. With Williams potentially growing into his role on the left side (more on that in a bit) and Slater being a plug-and-play upgrade on the right, this is a good start for the Bengals.
Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
The need for quality cornerbacks is becoming ever-important in the AFC North. There are plenty of vaunted wide receivers in the division. Odell Beckham, Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Marquise Brown, and Jarvis Landry are just some of the names included. Finding a cornerback with the proper size and speed to match these talented receivers will be critical for the Bengals’ growth in 2021.
The team has William Jackson III and Trae Waynes (currently on injured reserve) going into next season, and an upgrade may be on the horizon.
In this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft, the team gets a potential starting cornerback early in the second round with Georgia’s Eric Stokes. Stokes has both the size and speed to play outside in the league. He would be an excellent addition to the secondary. Stokes could be a versatile tool against the talented AFC North receivers with the ability to show both press and bail techniques.
Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
The theme for this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft is pretty clear — protect the quarterback. After taking Slater in the first round, there is still work to be done along the offensive front. While Jonah Williams could still become a decent left tackle in the league, some analysts suggest that the 2019 first-rounder should move inside to guard. He could be more effective in the interior. The Bengals have the opportunity to add more talent on the offensive line with their third-round pick and do so in a big way.
Clemson’s Jackson Carman has been protecting Trevor Lawrence’s blindside for the last two seasons. Carman is a bruising run blocker who has a great punch and anchor in pass protection. Adding Carman is a step in the right direction for this Bengals offensive line, but could he be a Day 1 starter against NFL level competition? That is yet to be seen.
Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
The Bengals let veteran edge rusher Carlos Dunlap go during the season. The team still has some decent pieces in Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson. However, replacing a player like Dunlap is no easy task. 2020 fifth-round pick Khalid Kareem could still provide quality depth. However, the Bengals add a more explosive depth piece with their fourth-round pick of this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft.
Penn State’s Shaka Toney could help pick up the slack from Dunlap’s exit. Toney has the explosiveness and sharp pass rush angles you love to see from your edge defenders. His athleticism would be fantastic for passing downs on rotational rushing situations. He could benefit from adding some weight to his frame, though. Expect Toney to be a fun addition to the Bengals defensive front.
Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
The Bengals might lose veteran wide receiver A.J. Green this offseason, but with the emergence of rookie receiver Tee Higgins, the team might be okay with that. Tyler Boyd is becoming a top option, and Auden Tate has shown, at times, that he can be a reliable threat as well. With Green likely gone, though, the team could use another receiving threat for their young offense. They get one in this Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
With their fifth-round pick of this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft, they get a potential slot and a steal in this class. South Carolina’s Shi Smith spent time under both Deebo Samuels and Bryan Edwards and finally became the go-to receiver in 2020. He shows excellent hands and toughness over the middle and has had some insane catches over defenders. With the talented South Carolina receivers that have emerged over the last two drafts, Smith has a chance to be the next surprise in line.
Camryn Bynum, CB, California
Remember what we said about the Bengals needing to add more quality cornerbacks in this draft class? Their sixth-round pick of this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft adds a sleeper cornerback to their secondary. After adding Georgia’s Eric Stokes in the second round, the team adds an experienced college cornerback to their young defense in this Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
California’s Camryn Bynum is a seasoned veteran in the college game, a three-year starter at Cal before opting out of the 2020 season. He doesn’t have the blazing speed to go hip-for-hip with faster wide receivers. Bynum plays with disciplined technique and shows excellent route recognition.
He has decent size for a cornerback, however, standing at six feet and 200 pounds. Bynum also has plenty to offer in the run game as well. He is excellent at setting the edge and remains physical when finishing. While he may be limited to only playing outside, he could offer looks in dime and nickel packages, should they need to move another corner inside.
Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
Okay, hear me out. I doubt Nevada’s Carson Strong is available this late in the 2021 NFL Draft. Strong could be one of the quickest risers in the draft process.
However, when doing this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft, Strong was available late, and the Bengals just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have a potential quality backup. He could also serve as a fill-in starter while Joe Burrow heals up. If Strong declares for the draft, he could be an absolute steal this late in this Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
Strong is a big, strapping quarterback at 6′ 4″, 215 lbs, and has a cannon for an arm. His accuracy, however, is one of his biggest strengths. He has completed almost 70% of his passes and having great success on his deep throws. The redshirt sophomore could make his case as one of the best passers in the 2021 quarterback class. Long-term, Strong could be one of the better backups in the league behind Burrow and could take his time to learn under Zac Taylor.
Jack Anderson, OG, Texas Tech
We finish off this Bengals 7-round Mock Draft with another offensive lineman, the third of this draft. The Bengals added Quinton Spain as a mid-season free agent from Buffalo and could keep him long-term. However, adding more depth along the offensive line is still a necessity.
With their final pick of this mock, the Bengals take Texas Tech guard Jack Anderson to add to their offensive line. Anderson has plenty of experience as a college starter and played primarily right guard at Texas Tech. He has experience in both zone and power schemes. However, he doesn’t offer a ton of positional variety along the offensive front. Anderson would likely need some time to get normalized with the NFL game before being a reliable contributor for the Bengals.
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