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Path To The Draft: Cincinnati Bengals

Welcome to “Path To The Draft.” A new take on mock drafts where multiple scenarios are presented with different options at every pick. Ultimately, it works out like a mock draft where each pick has a prediction. In this first installment, the Cincinnati Bengals are getting put under the microscope.

As nicely as this can be put, it is really hard to be the worst team in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals struggled mightily last season, especially at the Quarterback position. However, with the draft approaching, Bengals fans have a lot to be excited about.

They get the top prize in the draft and it’s not a secret who it’ll be. But, other possibilities exist. Today, it’s time to take a look at what the Bengals will do with their picks. This is the Cincinnati Bengals Path To The Draft.

Round One

Image Credit: Bengals Wire

Pick(s): 1st

The Bengals path to the draft has presented two scenarios.

Scenario 1 – Draft Joe Burrow

Needs: QB, EDGE, OT, IOL, LB, CB

This is a no brainer right? Absolutely. If the Bengals hold the first overall pick they will be drafting Joe Burrow. No debate about it.

Path To The Draft Result: Bengals select Joe Burrow first overall.

Scenario 2 – Trade out

Needs: QB, EDGE, OT, IOL, LB, CB

The Bengals have 7 draft picks, each at the top of the round. This means if the Bengals don’t trade out, they can get a pretty good haul. So, the likelihood they trade out is low. However, until the Bengals straight up say they are drafting Burrow before the draft, speculation will rise. If someone is trading for the first pick it’ll only be for Burrow. So, Quarterback needy teams like the Dolphins, Chargers and Patriots could be calling.

However, one can only realistically make a substantial offer. Miami.

The price seems high, but that’s because Burrow seems to be a guaranteed home run. It looks like Miami will have to give up ALL of their three first round picks to take the first pick from Cincinnati. In this scenario, the Bengals acquire picks 5, 18 and 26 in exchange for the first overall pick. The first round then goes something along these lines.

5th overall – QB Justin Herbert – The better option considering Tua’s injuries.

QB Tua Tagovailoa – The better Quarterback but a risky pick considering injuries.

18th Overall – OT Andrew Thomas – Thomas and Williams will lock down the tackle spot for years to come for whoever the signal caller is.

EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson – The Bengals desperately need a pass rusher, Chaisson fits that mold. He can also play Linebacker and cover if needed.

26th Overall – EDGE Zack Baun – If the Bengals go Thomas at 18, Baun should be the pick here. However, he may be gone before 26.

OT Isaiah Wilson – On the other hand, if Chaisson is the pick, then Wilson will most likely be the best tackle left.

EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos – Baun could be gone so in that case, YMG is the next best EDGE.

EDGE A.J. Epenesa – If Baun is gone, it’ll be a toss up between YMG and Epenesa, though Epenesa is unlikely here.

Path To The Draft Result: Bengals trade the 1st pick to the Dolphins for the 5th, 18th and 26th overall picks. They select Justin Herbert, Andrew Thomas and Yetur Gross-Matos.

Round 2

Image Credit: USA Today

Pick(s): 33rd overall

Depending on what happens in the first round, the next 6 rounds can go many different ways. Each scenario continues from the result of the previous round(s).

Scenario 1

Needs: EDGE, OT, IOL, LB, CB

EDGE A.J. Epenesa – Getting a franchise QB and a franchise edge rusher is the top goal for the Bengals. Epenesa is likely going to be the only player worthy to go this high.

IOL Cesar Ruiz – Based off needs, Ruiz could jump into the first round, if not, the Bengals should pounce on him (no pun intended).

OT Isaiah Wilson – If he sneaks out of the first round, securing Wilson could be a possibility. Though, if either Ruiz or Epenesa are here, it won’t happen.

Path To The Draft Result: Bengals snag A.J. Epenesa

Scenario 2

Needs: LB, CB

Wants: WR, TE, DL

LB Patrick Queen – It’ll be tough to land Queen here, but if they can, they’ll pull the trigger.

CB A.J. Terrell – Terrell is a super under-rated product. He is a first round talent in a lot of scouts eyes. Taking Terrell here is the most likely option.

CB Trevon Diggs – Only picked if neither Terrell or Queen are available.

Path To The Draft Result: Bengals add A.J. Terrell to their class.


Round 3

Image Credit: Ragin’ Cajuns

Pick(s): 65

Scenario 1

Needs: OT, IOL, LB, CB

IOL Robert Hunt – The Bengals have struggled to piece together their offensive line for years now. OT is less of a need than an interior guard, but they need to go O-Line within the first three rounds. Hunt is a solid prospect who will fit in as a day one starter.

OT Prince Tega Wanogho – A fine product out of Auburn, Wanogho is the better Offensive Lineman over Hunt. However, securing the interior is a bigger issue. If Hunt, or a more solid guard isn’t here, they should go Wanogho.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals select Robert Hunt.

Scenario 2

Needs: LB

Wants: WR, TE, DL

LB Malik Harrison – Any product out of Ohio State is always a safe pick. OSU has produced tons of starters throughout the middle rounds. Harrison is a super solid pick to add to the Bengals’ stacked class in this scenario.

LB Akeem Davis-Gaither – A sleeper pick out of Appalachian State, considering how thin the Linebacker class is, Harrison could be gone early. If so, Davis should still be here. Either Harrison or Davis will be solid picks and start in their first year.

TE Cole Kmet – The Bengals lost Tyler Eifert to free agency, although they lost his production long before that. Moving forward with Uzomah is an option, but is a bit risky. Kmet will be a starter for years to come. He is the most rounded Tight End in the class, but the Bengals need to jump on a LB fast.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals select Malik Harrison and complete all their needs.

Round 4

Image Credit: The Draft Wire

Pick(s): 107

Scenario 1

Needs: OT, LB, CB

OT Ben Bartch – The St. Johns product is one of the best Div 2 football has to offer. With this selection, the Bengals round out their Offensive Line to at least give Burrow decent protection in his first year. Plus, they’ll develop along with him, meaning down the line they’ll be able to predict and react to Burrows moves better.

LB Logan Wilson – The Wyoming product is surging up the draft boards and has gone from a low day 3 pick to a desired day 2 selection. If his surge settles down a bit, the Bengals may be able to snag him at the top of the fourth.

CB Amik Robertson – A massive sleeper out of Louisiana Tech, Robertson has the potential to be a lock-down corner at the next level. The Bengals additions of Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander mean that OT is a bigger issue at the moment.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals take Ben Bartch to round out the O-Line.

Scenario 2

Wants: WR, TE, DL, K

WR K.J. Hill – Cincinnati could double down on Ohio State products and pick up Hill to compete for the WR3 spot. John Ross looked like he was on track to dominate last season before he was put on IR before the quarter point of the season. If Hill isn’t in to replace Ross, he could be insurance for A.J. Green, if he ends up leaving next offseason.

TE Hunter Bryant – This a good spot for the Bengals to pick up a Tight End. This helps put pressure on Uzomah to succeed but nonetheless, gives Burrow an additional weapon. This draft has to help build him an arsenal if they want him to have year one success.

K Rodrigo Blankenship – The Bengals right now could afford to pick up a Kicker even at such a high round. Blankenship is one of the most solid and consistent kickers to come out of college recently. He could provide relief when the Bengals offense stalls out if they are sturggling.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals have a lot of options, but securing a TE like Bryant is the best move here.

Round 5

Image Credits: Texas Athletics

Pick(s): 147

Scenario 1

Needs: LB, CB

Wants: WR, TE, DL, K

LB Shaquille Quarterman – Quaterman used to be a top prospect among the Linebackers. However, he showed a lot of flaws in his game last season. Grabbing Quarterman has massive upside, but they risk getting the 2019 Quarterman.

CB Myles Bryant – Washington produces some of the finest Defensive Backs this game has seen. At any level, there’s tons of potential in Bryant. He could contribute to a group that needs a star Cornerback.

WR Collin Johnson – Johnson didn’t benefit from not declaring last year. He had a very down season in 2019 but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teams will now know exactly what they need Johnson to work on to bring out the best in him.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals have numerous options here, but grabbing Bryant is a low-risk, high reward move for them.

Scenario 2

Wants: WR, DL, K

WR Collin Johnson – See the above description.

DL Bravvion Roy – A big, fast player, Roy has a lot of physical upside. He won’t start this season seeing as Atkins and Reader are there, but developing as a backup for when Atkins leaves or retires is a solid plan for the Bengals future.

K Rodrigo Blankenship – I highly doubt Blankenship lasts past the 5th, if the Bengals want a top tier kicker they should act here.

Path To The Draft Result: The Bengals have a lot of great options here, but it’s time to put some pressure on Ross and give him competition. The Bengals grab Johnson here.


Round 6

Image Credits: The Athletic

Picks(s): 180

Scenario 1

Needs: LB

Wants: WR, TE, DL, K

LB Shaquille Quarterman – See the above description. Quarterman fixes to be more of a sixth round guy but could’ve gone fifth round based on Cinci’s needs.

WR Tyrie Cleveland – Cleveland is a true deep ball player. He’s slower than Ross but could easily play the ball better than him. If the Bengals want a speedy receiver to pair with Boyd and Green, this is their guy.

DL Bravvion Roy – See the above description. Much like Quarterman, Roy could be a low fifth-round, high sixth-round pick.

Path To The Draft Result: Can’t pass up on Quarterman here. They need a Linebacker badly.

Scenario 2

Wants: DL, K

DL Bravvion Roy – See the above description.

K Tyler Bass – Bass had a great showing at the Senior Bowl. He could develop into a solid starting Kicker.

Path To The Draft Result: Bengals snag Roy and complete all their defensive needs and wants.


Round 7

Image Credits: The Draft Network

Pick(s): 215

Scenario 1

Wants: WR, TE, DL, K

TE Dalton Keene – A super versatile player, Keene can slot in at a lot of places for the Bengals. Someone this flexible will be very easy to find work for in Cinci.

WR Austin Mack – Once again, anything that comes out of Ohio State has a great chance at being a star. Mack didn’t get as much attention playing with Hill and Binjimen Victor, but he could be an awesome player if the chance is given.

K Jet Toner – Bass will likely be gone by now and Toner is the only Kicker left worthy of being drafted. Though, he likely won’t be. However, he was a fairly consistent Kicker at Stanford, but didn’t make anything beyond 50.

Path To The Draft Result: Grabbing Keene puts pressure on Uzomah but also gives the Bengals a super versatile player to move around and create space.

Scenario 2

Wants: K

K Tyler Bass – This is reaching for the stars but if Bass falls to the 7th he is an easy grab.

WR James Proche – Unlike Mack, Proche has a lot of potential as a 7th round pick. But, he needs a lot of work. Thankfully, with Johnson already drafted and tons of players ahead of him, Proche will have lots of time to perfect his craft.

LB Mohamed Barry – Linebacker was a huge need for Cincinnati, so doubling down on the position will increase the odds they find their guy. Barry falling to the 7th would be a miracle, but one Cincinnati needs.

Path To The Draft Result: Realistically speaking, Proche is the only player who will likely be at 215, so that’s who they grab.

Final “Path To The Draft” Mocks

Scenario 1

Picks: 1st, 33rd, 65th, 107th, 147th, 180th, 215th

1st – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

33rd – EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa

65th – IOL Robert Hunt, Louisiana

107th – OT Ben Bartch, St. Johns

147th – CB Myles Bryant, Washington

180th – LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami (FL)

215th – TE Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech

Scenario 2

Picks: 5th, 18th, 26th, 33rd, 65th, 107th, 147th, 180th, 215th,

5th – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon

18th – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

26th – EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State

33rd – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson

65th – LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State

107th – TE Hunter Bryant, Washington

147th – WR Collin Johnson, Texas

180th – DL Bravvion Roy, Baylor

215th – WR James Proche, SMU

Path To The Draft: Cincinnati Bengals

When you glance at the two classes, the level of talent gathered in the second scenario is amazing. But, they don’t get as solid of a QB like they could with Burrow. Herbert has tons of potential, but forcing him into a starting role ASAP could hurt him. If the Bengals kept Dalton, they could afford to pass on Burrow, but that likely won’t happen. If they take Burrow, they can still get a franchise pass rusher and continue to rebuild the Offensive Line. Guys like Bryant and Quarterman provide tons of upside with the low risk of a day 3 pick.

Ultimately, if the Bengals are smart with their picks, they’re winners no matter what.

That conclude the first installment of “Path To The Draft!” A new and unique take on mock drafts.

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