Kickoff is rapidly approaching and camp is coming to an end. A lot of news about the Bengals has came from camp. It has been a mixed bag but here are position by position draft notes.
- QB-Joe Burrow has been fantastic. Any concern is gone and he will be the franchise QB for a long time. Not much else to say about Burrow but Ryan Finley isnt long for the NFL.
- RB-Mixon has missed some time but as long as he is playing the position is fine. Gio is in the second to last year of his contract. Trayveon Williams will be RB3. Mixon will be intersting to watch but as far as this season goes as long as he plays the position is fine.
- Reciever-Yikes is the best way to describe this position. AJ Green was supposed to return to form as the star receiver in his contract year but he has missed a lot of time in camp. He cant be relied on as the star receiver moving forward. Tee Higgins hasnt made a splash, he is super young and he doesnt need to be great this year but nothing exciting to say. Tyler Boyd is still good. After that there isnt a lot of talent in the room, drops were a big problem in the scrimmage.
- Tight End-One of the more surprising rooms so far. Burrow has really looked to the tight end in camp and expect their usage to go up. Drew Sample has done really well and should be the starter, he may be a quality starter. Uzomah has done well in the passing game and is a reliable #2 tight end in a 1TE system.
- OL-Real mixed bag here. C Trey Hopkins has always been solid and is still in that tier. Positively LT Jonah Williams has done very well and isnt looking like a bust, he should be a good starter going forward. LG Michael Jordan may be the most improved player on the roster and has locked down the LG spot. Both of those guys are super young and are very promising. On the negative side RG Xavier Sua-Filo and RT Bobby Hart may literally be the worst starters at their respective position in the NFL. Really, really bad. Major need going forward.
- DL-Everything coming out about the DL has been overwhelmingly positive. This is a nasty group and one of the best DLs in the NFL. Dunlap, Hubbard, Reader, Atkins, Mike Daniels, and Carl Lawson are all quality players. This is the best position group on the team
- LB-Most improved group on the roster. The athleticism has been evident in camp and the shit show from last year is gone. Germaine Pratt in year 2 has been really good and Jordan Evans is playing well. All of the rookies have flashed in camp. They are still very young but this is a really good group to go forward with in the new era.
- S-Very talented experienced group. Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, and Shawn Williams are all solid.
- CB-Biggest negative coming from camp. Trae Waynes was the #1 guy and he will miss most of the season and Makenzie Alexander was the starting nickel corner and had to leave camp. William Jackson hasnt had a lot of positive said about him in his contract year. This group has quickly turned from average to a shit show.
Overall offensive outlook-Burrow being good was the top concern and he is going to be great. Jonah Williams and Michael Jordan panning out next to Trey Hopkins was important and they are getting there. Drew Sample panning out is a good sign. Receiver talent is hurting outside of Boyd and the RG/RT mess is disgusting. RB is really up in the air. Could be right around average in the NFL but the OL was going to be a huge problem again and if AJ Green or John Ross arent doing anything the passing game could be a little flat.
Defensive outlook-The DL, LB, and S groups are all very athletic and looking really good. The corner position is a big situation though and may be the worst corner group in the NFL without Waynes/Alexander. They will really hold back what it otherwise a talented defense.
Offseason moves:I am going to assume that Mixon is signed and back in the future(he isnt asking for a crazy deal and is young/talented.) I will guess that Green and John Ross wont be resigned(the team wont want to deal with the extreme injury problems for an extended period of time.) Lastly William Jackson is a big question but I do think he will be back.
2021 Draft Needs:RG/RT are a shit show that have to be addressed. Receiver has a real lack of talent on the outside, Higgins may take a step in 2021 but they really need a guy with speed to be the #1 for Burrow.(Think of the 2019 Chiefs, Higgins can be Sammy Watkins but they need a Tyreke Hill level player on the outside.) Corner is a big problem that could use a talented guy. Specifically they need a bigger outside guy who can also tackle since Lamar Jackson is on the schedule. The DL is aging if the right guy presents himself. 2021 draft simulation using the draft network(Bengals pick 5th):
1.Jamarr Chase WR LSU-With Penei Sewell and Rousseua off the board Chase is the only pick. Chase is incredible and will be one of the best receivers in the NFL. Chase fits very well with Higgins and Boyd and reuniting with Burrow is a perfect scenario. The skill group would be set for the next few years. No other lineman are worth that pick, taking Micah Parsons would be a waste of resources, and Chase is much more talented than Shaun Wade/Patrick Surtain.
2.Eric Stokes CB Georgia-Best corner available. Bigger physical corner that is needed in the AFC North. still really young and has all the athleticism required to be a good NFL corner. With Trae Waynes and William Jackson back in 2021 adding Stokes should turn the corner room around quickly.
3.Cade Mays IOL Tennessee-Started at all 5 positions on the OL for Georgia. Not eligible this year for UT. As an IOL he has enough film to still get drafted to I would be surprised to see him stay at UT for an entire extra season. At 6'5" would be a big guard and has enough athleticism to stick at RG. Would be a good opposite of MJ as Mays isnt as athletic but is a better run blocker. Mays is the mauler type the Bengals have been looking for on the OL. LT/LG/C/RG would all be young and improving along with Burrow. The offense would have a quality starter at every position except RT.
Patrick Jones EDGE Pitt-High end athlete to develop with Dunlap aging and Carl Lawson in his contract year. Could turn into the #3 edge rusher and should Dunlap leave fill his spot if he pans out. He's a 6'5" 260 lb athlete who still has a way to go in his development but he wouldnt be ask to contribute from the start for the Bengals. Getting him here prevents the Bengals from needing to spend a premium pick on an edge rusher if he pans out.