The Cincinnati Bengals have been one of the worst teams in the league for two years in a row.
This comes after three seasons of mediocrity in the finals years of Marvin Lewis as the head coach.
With a combined record of 6-25-1 in the past two years, things are not as bleak as it seems in Cincy.
They also have a projected $42 million in cap space this offseason.
While that’s really all they have going for them, having a franchise QB is vital.
Finding your franchise QB in the draft and having him on his rookie contract allows the team to spend on other key positions.
They can spend more money on the offensive line, pass rush, and defensive backs.
All of which are important position groups in today’s NFL.
Interestingly enough, these are also the three positions the Bengals need the most help at.
Bengals Need to Protect Burrow
Now that the Bengals have their QB of the future they must focus on keeping him upright.
A make-shift offensive line already caused Burrow to suffer a brutal knee injury this year.
While Price struggled of late, he had his best year as a pro under new Bengal’s offensive line coach Frank Pollack.
There are potentially a few decent offensive linemen to hit the open market this offseason, but it is always good to build the line through the draft.
The Bengals could look to add arguably the second-best prospect in the draft in OT Penei Sewell at pick 5.
Penei Sewell: The highest-graded offensive tackle in the PFF College Era (2014-present) – 95.5. pic.twitter.com/sfIov5ECkO
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 21, 2020
He was one of the highest-graded college linemen ever recorded by PFF and would provide immediate help to Cincy in the trenches.
If Sewell is taken by the time their pick rolls around, they shouldn’t reach on an offensive lineman at 5.
They can trade back into the middle of the first round, pick up some draft capital, and still walk away with either Rashawn Slater or Christian Darrisaw.
Or, they can wait until the second round and hope Alijah Vera-Tucker, Samuel Cosmi, or Wyatt Davis falls to them at 38.
There are plenty of talented O-line prospects in this draft.
The Bengals should add one of them in the first two rounds.
Upgrade the Pass Rush
Another area of weakness for the Bengals this year was the pass rush.
There aren’t many highly touted pass rushers in this draft, so the Bengals will need to look to day 2 to find help.
Jaelan Phillips out of Miami and Jayson Oweh out of Penn State should be targeted in the second round.
Two edge-rushers with Day Two grades I think could be starters—Jayson Oweh (Penn State) and Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma). Both have athletic traits of starters.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 12, 2021
While Hamilcar Rashed Jr. and Rashad Weaver could be third round targets.
Oweh has terrific size for an EDGE and seems to have tons of room for growth.
Rashed Jr. is a great athlete who registered 14 sacks in 11 games during the 2019 campaign.
Even though the Bengals probably won’t find a game-changing pass rusher in this draft, they can add some pop to their pass rush.
Bengals Secondary Needs Work
The last position the Bengals should focus on is the secondary.
The return of Trae Waynes from injury should help, but he is set to turn 29 and has never been a lock-down corner.
If Sewell is taken before pick 5, the Bengals could use their first-round pick on a corner.
Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech has the speed and physicality to become a true #1 corner.
He sat out the 2020 season after putting together an incredible 2019 season.
Caleb Farley: The only corner with an elite coverage grade in the ACC pic.twitter.com/1KCoOVt9xJ
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 27, 2019
The other corner the Bengals should target at 5 is Alabama’s Patrick Surtain.
He just won the CFP Championship while becoming the highest graded CB according to PFF since 2018.
Patrick Surtain II: Highest-graded CB since 2018 (93.0) pic.twitter.com/gmToSmGmMg
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 5, 2021
He possesses a terrific combination of size, length, and technique.