The Cincinnati Bengals finished last in the AFC North for the third time in a row last season. That’s not surprising considering that they had the worst record in football last year. Cincinnati has a young, promising quarterback, up-and-coming weapons, and quality draft capital to continue getting better in 2020.
The Bengals’ offense was wide open last season. Joe Burrow was allowed to throw the ball non-stop. AJ Green was a huge disappointment after returning from a one-year layoff and Joe Mixon couldn’t seem to stay healthy. However, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins showed tons of promise. A healthy, more experienced Cincinnati offense could make waves in the near future, but its defense has a ways to go.
Cincinnati Bengals 2021 Draft Picks
Round 1: No. 5, WR Ja’Marr Chase
Round 2: No. 46, OT Jackson Carman
Round 3: No. 69, LB Joseph Ossai
Round 4: No. 111, DE Cameron Sample, No. 122, DT Tyler Shelvin, No. 139, OT D’Ante Smith
Round 5: No. 149, PK Evan McPherson
Round 6: No. 190, C Trey Hill; No. 202, RB Chris Evans;
Round 7: No. 235, DE Wyatt Hubert
Offense: Offensive line
The Bengals ranked 24th in rushing yards last season and gave up the third-most sacks in the NFL. That can’t happen again in 2021, as Burrow is recovering from tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL because of his lack of protection. A reliable running game would help limit the number of hits Joe Burrow has to take, and prolonging his career and keeping him in good health is of the utmost importance.
Defense: Edge rushers, cornerback
The Bengals’ defense ranked last in sacks (17) last season and gave up the fourth-most passing touchdowns (32) in the NFL. Cincinnati aimed to fix its secondary by bringing in veteran talent, but its pass defense struggled because the defensive line and linebackers couldn't create pressure. Both areas need to be strengthened so there’s less pressure on the offense.
Dream first pick
Kyle Pitts-TE, Florida
While protection should be a priority for a team that’s franchise quarterback is coming off a serious leg injury, Pitts has the potential to become Burrow’s go-to guy for over a decade. Having a reliable safety outlet has benefitted many talented quarterbacks over the year, and Burrow won’t have to put his body at risk as much with an athlete like Pitts finding seams in the defense and turning small plays into big ones. If the Bengals can afford to upgrade its offensive line significantly through free agency or trades, Pitts is the best guy for them.