Cincinnati Bengals Early Three-Round 2021 Mock Draft Review

After a strong 2020 offseason in Cincinnati, Cole Thompson gives his review on the returns for the Bengals in an early three-round 2021 mock draft.

No matter what the time of year, mock drafts make for an interesting read. Although a year away, Pro Football Network’s Matt Valdovinos recently posted his three-round mock draft for the 2021 season. According to his rankings, Valdovinos pegged the Bengals to finish with a top-five pick for the 2021 Draft. With another early selection, the team will perhaps add stability in positions that will take the offense to the next level. In this article, we will review the Bengals selections in this early 2021 three-round mock draft and discuss whether Valdovinos got it right with his choices.

Where do the Bengals stand entering Valdovinos’ three-round 2021 mock?

As much as the Cincinnati Bengals have shown promise with their recent draft and free agency class, they are still far from being viewed as contenders. Joe Burrow has the chance to be a consistent top-10 quarterback, and Tee Higgins has the potential to be the team’s future No.1 target. Joe Mixon is a premier running back while the defense features quality pieces in Carlos Dunlap, DJ Reader, Geno Atkins, and Jessie Bates III. 

The pieces are there for success down the line, but there are far too many holes to see it happening this year. The Bengals offensive line is in shambles outside Jonah Williams, who could still experience growing pains after missing the 2019 season. The unit allowed 48 sacks and caused concerns for the future. 

Bengals No.3: Oregon OT Penei Sewell

Although the Bengals have Williams, could he be another Alabama tackle that will tumble in the NFL? Even if he succeeds, Cincinnati still needs protection on the opposite side. For this reason, Vadovinos grants the tumultuous offensive line a gift in the player many expect to be the top tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

“The Bengals drafted their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, and they have the 2019 11th overall pick Jonah Williams expected to come back from injury,” Valdovinos wrote. “Pairing Jonah with Penei Sewell would give the Bengals one of the best young offensive tackle duos in the NFL. Sewell is, in my opinion, the best player in the 2021 NFL Draft class, and the Bengals land him at third overall.”

Related | Penei Sewell leads top-heavy group of offensive tackles in the 2021 NFL Draft

This could be a blessing or a curse depending on how the season unfolds. Earlier this week, the Pac 12 announced they would be suspending the season due to the current global situation, closely following the BIG 10. Unless Sewell is given a chance to transfer conferences, we have most likely seen his final snaps in an Oregon uniform.

A stonewall in protection for the Ducks offense, Sewell has the size (6-foot-6) and speed to win on either side of the ball. Extremely strong with a square stance in pass protection, he excels at stuffing edge rushers while keeping length separation on the outside. Just one look at his run blocking makes him perhaps the most well-rounded tackle in the 2020 class. 

Who were the other potential options?

For now, Sewell would be the perfect fit for Zac Taylor’s offense on either side of the line. The Bengals will look to explore their passing attack more with a strong-armed quarterback, meaning protection should be essential to the team’s success. 

There’s two other player’s worth noting should the Bengals remain a top 10 pick. Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood is a plug-and-play tackle that will see action this season in the SEC and become more defined in pass sets.

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: What is Ja’Marr Chase’s ceiling in the NFL?

LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase could be another option after his success with Burrow down in the Bayou in 2019. The Bengals will also be entering contract years with wide receivers John Ross and A.J. Green, creating a need for a No.3 option should both leave in free agency.

Overall, Sewell might be the most NFL-ready and a perfect fit in any offense. He would be a standout selection to pair with Williams as the bookends to a promising start in the Burrow-Bengal era. 

Pick No.35: Miami TE Brevin Jordan 

Miami tight ends are often slept on, but some of the league’s best hail from “The U”‘. Despite having a potentially dynamic offense, the Bengals lack a competent player at the tight end position, leading to Valdovinos’ selection of Jordan. 

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: The unlimited potential of Miami tight end Brevin Jordan

The rising junior has seen the most success with the Hurricanes but could be in for a breakout season. Over two years, Jordan has tallied 65 catches for 770 yards and six touchdowns. Add in the dual-threat option of graduate D’Eriq King, and perhaps those numbers grow in 2020. 

One look at the 6-foot-3 tight end demonstrates his ability to win in man coverage. Best across the middle of the field, Jordan is a perfect red-zone threat for offenses that like tight ends who can pick up yards after the catch. A quality safety net for a quarterback could become a vital part of Taylor’s pass-heavy offense.

Who were the other potential options?

Outside of tackle help, Cincinnati should look to the tight end position early. According to Valdovinos’ board, Florida’s Kyle Pitts would be gone one pick earlier to Washington. Of the two, Pitts is a more well-rounded blocker and a serviceable pass-catcher now that he is Kyle Trask’s No.1 option. 

Related | Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts is TE1

If Pitts is there, he’ll add protection and another set of hands. Other than that, two for two so far with this overhaul. 

Pick No.67: Ohio State IOL Josh Myers 

Valdovinos must have faith in the Bengals’ defense because here’s his third offensive option. While Billy Price has yet to pan out after being drafted early in 2017, perhaps Josh Myers is a future starter somewhere in the trenches. 

Much like Sewell, Myers won’t suit up unless he elects to transfer due to the BIG 10’s ruling. On paper, his 6-foot-5 frame would have him built like a tackle, but he thrives in the leadership role as the Buckeyes’ starting center. In his first year as a starter, Myers served well as one of the premier blockers in the conference’s top offense.

Who were the other potential options?

While the selection is worthy, perhaps defensive back needs should be addressed. William Jackson III is entering a contract year after a down 2019 season due to another injury. Star slot cornerback Mackensie Alexander is only on a one-year $4 million deal. Who knows if third-year Darius Phillips can build off his team-high four interceptions from last season.

Related | What happened to Stanford defensive back Paulson Adebo in 2019?

With Stanford’s Paulson Adebo or Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. available, perhaps one of those could be a more promising selection. While the Myers pick will help with Burrow’s development, one can’t forget defense.

How did this 2021 early three-round mock draft shape up? 

Valdovinos’ draft is subjected to helping the progression of Burrow. Adding two offensive linemen from standout passing offenses will allow Taylor to implement his scheme more while molding the young pocket-passer. The same could be said for Jordan, who, with more time, could become this year’s top tight end. 

Depending on how the College Football season unfolds, several changes could be made to the list. Who knows, if Cincinnati starts hot, they could be in line for a mid-level pick while Burrow is earning Rookie of the Year nods for a job well done in the Jungle. This could lead to changes at draft spots, player selections, and immediate team needs. 

However, if this is the group that the Bengals walk away with on Friday night next April, fans should be rejoicing. In today’s NFL, you’re only as good as your man in command. This overhaul should take Burrow closer to stardom in no time. 

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