Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft for 2021
Sitting with the 5th pick behind at least three teams who will be selecting a quarterback, the Bengals have to like their position. We fully expect Cincinnati to take an offensive player with their first selection who can help Joe Burrow evolve, but who will that be?
Will the captivation of reuniting Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase be too powerful to overcome? Is Kyle Pitts in play?
Let’s sort that out with a dive into Bengals draft predictions. All eight of them.
Round 1 – Pick #5
- Selection: Penei Sewell
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Oregon
The temptation to pair Joe Burrow with his former #1 weapon at LSU is sincere. Still, it’s hard to envision the Bengals passing on Penei Sewell, given their blatant deficiencies on the offensive line.
Cincy played musical chairs up front all season long with 10 different players logging at least 200 snaps on the O-Line.
Only one unit member (Jonah Williams) received a pass-blocking grade over 70.0 (PFF).
Penei is the consensus top tackle in this class and about as surefire of a pick as you can make early on.
Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack was an interested spectator at Sewell’s pro day and will be pleading to the front office brass to pounce on the 20-year-old prospect from Eugene.
Ducks coach Mario Cristobal’s praise for Penei went beyond calling him the best lineman he’s ever seen suit up.
Cristobal extolled Sewell as the best player he’s ever been around – period.
Round 2 – Pick #38
- Selection: Terrace Marshall Jr.
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: LSU
Joe Burrow will be less concerned about missing out on Ja’Marr Chase at #5 if Duke Tobin pulls the trigger on Terrace Marshall Jr. early in the second round. Of course, this is predicated on former LSU wideout being available on day two. That’s a big “if,” but it’s not out of the question.
Burrow and Marshall’s rapport is obvious – Terrace hauled in 13 touchdown passes from Joe as a sophomore in 2019. Emerging out of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase’s shadows this past year in Baton Rouge, the 6’3” Louisiana native caught 10 TDs in seven games and averaged over 100 receiving yards per contest.
Tyler Boyd is penciled into the slot, and Tee Higgins is blossoming on the perimeter. Plug Marshall in opposite to Higgins on the outside, and suddenly the Bengals wide receiving room turns into an above-average group.
Round 3 – Pick #69
- Selection: Ifeatu Melifonwu
- Position: CB
- School: Syracuse
Pushing 6’3” and weighing 212 pounds, Ifeatu Melifonwu is one of the most captivating defensive backs in the 2021 Class. Listed as a corner, Melifonwu has an advanced skill set and could easily move to safety. His long strides and acute awareness make him capable of shutting down outside receivers, and he’s not afraid to stick his nose in the pile and collapse in the run game.
There’s certainly some polishing to be done, notably improving his discipline in zone coverage, but that’s something that can be taught. Ifeatu’s quick burst and glaring athleticism are innate abilities that will translate to the next level.
You’ll read mixed reviews among NFL Draft analysts, but more likely than not Melifonwu will hear his name called in the middle portion of day two.
Bengals Draft Predictions on Day 3
- Round 4, Pick #112 – Payton Turner, EDGE, Houston
- Round 5, Pick #150 – Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
- Round 6, Pick #191 – Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss
- Round 6, Pick #203 – Jack Anderson, OL, Texas Tech
- Round 7, Pick #236 – Elijah Ponder, EDGE, Cincinnati
Cincinnati finished dead last in team sacks last season. Signing Trey Hendrickson to a long-term deal is the first step for the Bengals to shore up their pass rush, but they need more pieces after letting Carl Lawson walk in free agency. That’s where Payton Turner comes in – a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who arrived at Houston tipping the scales at 215 pounds. Turner left the Cougars weighing north of 270.
Gio Bernard was released, and Joe Mixon’s foot injury is a lingering issue. Bringing back Samaje Perine is nothing more than a backup plan – look for Cincinnati to land a running back on day 3.
Rhamondre Stevenson has a fresh pair of legs after carrying it just 165 times since the start of 2019. Slotted #8 in my NFL Draft RB rankings, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another 245-pound running back in the Big 12 who averaged 7.2 yards/carry.
Kenny Yeboah only caught 27 balls as a senior at Ole Miss. Six of those went for a touchdown and his 524 receiving yards equated to a mammoth 19.4 yards per catch.
If they do, Yeboah will serve as a nice consolation.
Jack Anderson is blessed with upper body strength. He is used to playing in a spread-out passing attack, thanks to his time in Lubbock, and projected as a developmental guard with the expectation to evolve into a starter one day.
My Bengals draft predictions finish up with Cincy “staying in Cincy.” Somebody will take a late-round flier on Elijah Ponder, and it may as well be the team who had a birds-eye view of his progress in college. A promising edge rusher that can fill in as a five-technique lineman on the edge of the Bengals 4-3 front.
A Quick Rundown of This Bengals Mock Draft
As appealing as Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase are to an offense led by Joe Burrow, Cincinnati’s most important thing is to keep their franchise quarterback upright. It seems inconceivable that the Bungles would pass on Penei Sewell in the year Burrow returns from a devasting knee injury.
For what’s worth, the Bengals offensive line was PFF’s 30th-rated O-Line in 2020.
Cincy will find a third receiver to complement Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd; they’ll most definitely be on the lookout for a playmaking running back as the status of Joe Mixon remains murky at best.
The organization is missing a trusted tight end, they need help in the front seven, and the secondary is lacking. It all can’t be solved with eight picks in three days, but executing during the draft can at least give the fan base hope.
Onboard with any of these Bengals draft predictions? How about my suspicions for the rest of the AFC North Division?