The Cincinnati Bengals are officially on the clock as our series “32 Mocks in 32 Days” continues. The Bengals have a huge draft ahead of themselves as they try to protect franchise QB Joe Burrow while simultaneously surrounding him with more offensive weapons. After finishing his rookie year on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury, Burrow surely would like to see his protection get better. And, after losing AJ Green, the team also needs another pass-catcher or two. Will the Bengals draft with these needs in mind or take the best player available? We give you some insight here on what they would do in every round when given that same opportunity, in our Cincinnati Bengals 2021 NFL mock draft.
Cincinnati Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day One
1.5 | Penei Sewell | OT | Oregon
This one is an easy choice for me. Some people would prefer to pair Burrow with his former college receiver Ja"Marr Chase, and that is certainly not a bad route to go down, but in the end, the combination of Sewell and a WR in the second round ultimately trumps the possibility of having Chase and a second-round LT.
If you"re the Bengals you don"t mess around, you see that the strength of this class is the receivers and you take a wait and see approach with that position. Run your card up to the podium and take the best left tackle prospect I have seen in the past five drafts.
Cincinnati Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Two
2.38 | Elijah Moore | WR | Ole Miss
So, this is sort of what I was alluding to when I said that the WR group is the strength of this draft class. Get Moore, a dynamic athlete who can hit a home run on every play, into the same lineup as emerging WR Tee Higgins, and you have yourself a pretty solid 1-2 punch. With Tee Higgins being more of a possession receiver, these two would actually complement each other perfectly.
Also, keep an eye out on another one of Burrow"s former teammates, Terrace Marshall Jr. He could be in play here for the Bengals second-round pick and would certainly bring a familiarity to the team that would be undeniable. We shall see, however, how much Joe actually lobbies for his former teammate and how much he just lets the process play out.
3.69 | Brevin Jordan | TE | Miami
I wrestled with this pick for a second, as I really wanted to give this team a pass-rusher, but in the end, just couldn"t bring myself to do it. With Jordan on the clock and virtually no other pass-catching tight ends projected to be taken within the next few rounds, that left me with an interesting choice. Do I take Brevin Jordan a little early with the hopes that he turns into e better version of Gerald Everett? In the end, because of the lack of playmakers at the tight end position both on their team and in the draft, I had to make Jordan the choice here.
Shoot, maybe Everett"s former boss Zac Taylor can turn Jordan into a very reliable option over the middle. He certainly has the athletic ability to get the job done in the passing game and is no slouch as a blocker so the sky is the limit here in terms of potential.
Cincinnati Bengals 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Three
4.111 | Jamin Davis | LB | Kentucky
This was simply too good of a value to pass up. The Bengals linebackers are an extremely young group that includes two early picks from last year, but if Davis is still there at 111, it is impossible to not draft him. He would immediately step in next to or in front of youngsters Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither who both had disappointing rookie years. Both rookies were terrible in coverage in 2020 and that will not cut it for linebackers in the league today. If you cannot guard tight ends and the occasional slot receiver, you start to lose value.
The good thing for the Bengals is that those two have the athletic ability to be good pass-defenders it will just take some time. The best thing you can do in the meantime if you are struggling in the passing game is to defend the run well, and that is something Davis excels at. He is the perfect fit inside these two youngsters as a replacement for the ever-fading Germaine Pratt.
5.149 | D"Ante Smith | OL | East Carolina
Smith has positional versatility in the sense that some people feel he will be best at the guard position. That is perfect for a Bengals team that already has a few versatile linemen who can be trained in multiple spots. Cincy" simply needs to find the best five guys who can go out there and block for Burrow.
Whether that means playing Smith and/or 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams at right tackle it doesn"t matter as long as they can get five solid blockers out there. That is the kind of line you can build when your linemen are cross-trained at multiple positions. The Bengals must come out of any 2021 NFL mock draft with two linemen to be considered serious, and this is no joke.
6.190 | Olaijah Griffin | CB | USC
Olaijah Griffin"s size will knock him down in the draft, but this could easily be one of the steals of this year"s class.
Every… single…year. we knock corners down in the draft because of their size and every…single…year we immediately regret the decision. In the NFL, it is NOT about the SIZE of the CB, it is about how well they can shadow receivers and how well they can tackle. That is it.
Griffin checks both of those boxes as well as being a super fiery competitor. In fact, most teams in the league could use a healthy dose of Griffin if he is available at this juncture. This is another situation in which the Bengals would simply run the card up to the podium.
6.202 | Pooka Williams Jr. | RB | Kansas
Willams comes in as the perfect replacement for Gio Bernard, who was just released by the team. Cincinnati also has Trayveon Williams and Joe Mixon on the team, but Williams makes that duo into a powerful trio that teams would have to gameplan against. Williams is a very savvy and patient runner who has always been one of the best players on his team.
It will be interesting to see how he handles the jump to the next level, and this situation gives him some time to grow into a role in the league. He may never be more than a number-two back, but if Williams can stay out of trouble, I can see him having a long future in the NFL.
7.235 | Sam Ehlinger | QB | Texas
Sorry, Bengals fans, but Brandon Allen is NOT the answer at backup QB. Ehlinger coming in as a seventh-round draft choice would immediately push Allen into a fight for his job. Allen has the support of the coaching staff, however, and would have a huge leg up in the competition. Still, at this point in the draft, it is worth it to see if the “QB guru" Taylor can work some magic with the super-athletic Ehlinger.
The senior bowl certainly did him no favors, as he showed he lacks the arm talent right now to win in the league, leading most people who are doing a 2021 NFL mock draft to leave him out. But, perhaps a team like the Bengals would draft him in the seventh to avoid the bidding war on undrafted free agent passers. Everyone needs a camp arm, after all, so you might as well have one with some theoretical potential.
Main image credit