For most NFL fanbases, the most exciting part of the year is when their favorite team is actually playing football. Here in Cincinnati, though, things are much different. The fans have had a lot more to be thrilled about the last five years when the annual NFL Draft rolls around.
Different year. Same story.
Just one year removed from picking 1st overall, the Bengals have moved themselves all the way down to…5th overall. The less-than-significant change in draft position doesn’t exactly tell the whole story, however. Through week 10, Cincinnati had already faced the brunt of their schedule. And just when Joe Burrow and the rest of the young Bengals started to find their footing in the league, disaster struck.
On a 3rd & 2 in a week 11 matchup against Washington, Joe Burrow’s knee buckled on an inadvertent low hit from Jonathan Allen. He suffered a torn ACL and MCL along with partial tears to his PCL and meniscus. This offseason the front office should focus on one thing and one thing only; making Burrow’s life easier. Of course, that starts with free agency. But there’s still that draft I was talking about where they hold the aforementioned 5th overall pick.
For this mock draft, I used PFF’s NFL Mock Draft Simulator. The simulator offers users the ability to trade picks and even grades my draft selections at the end.
Round 1, Pick 5
The pick: Penei Sewell, T, Oregon
The four teams picking in front of me made my life easy. Nobody is mad about this pick, with the exception of the teams picking after me. I’m old enough to remember Joe Burrow running for his life nearly every play and not having a run game to support him. Sewell provides the team an immediate boost in both aspects of the game. He dominated college football when he was 18 and 19 years old before he took last year off to prepare for the NFL. Had he played in 2020, he might not be available come the 5th pick. PFF graded this pick a B.
Round 2, Pick 38
The pick: Samuel Cosmi, T, Texas
I didn’t plan on picking two guys to protect Burrow with each of my first two selections, but Cosmi was far and away the best player available. Ideally, a weapon for the offense falls to me here. But that’s okay, Cosmi can contribute day one as a guard or as a tackle, and it is no secret that Cincinnati loves versatility on the offensive line. PFF loved this selection and handed me an A+.
Round 3, Pick 69
The pick: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
While I missed on a wide receiver yet again, I was still thrilled that Melifonwu fell all the way to the 69th pick. Plus, it doesn’t seem apparent that William Jackson III is part of the team’s plans. Melifonwu was one of the standouts at this year’s Senior Bowl and he yields all the traits to be a successful starter in the NFL. Plus, he has the best name in the draft. PFF gave me a B+ for this pick.
Obviously, giving this offense a speedy WR with some big play ability would’ve been a dream come true. Somebody has to replace A.J. Green’s 104 targets, but this is why free agency exists.
Marvin Jones reunion, anyone?