Could the Bengals Mimic past Browns’ and Panthers’ Drafts?

A year ago when the 2020 NFL Draft rolled around, Bengals fans were focused on one thing — drafting Joe Burrow. There’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, that’s all I was focused on. And a lot of other things happen over the course of a 3 day draft, we just didn’t care. One team, though under-the-radar, did something unprecedented.

The Carolina Panthers drafted seven players in the 2020 Draft and every single pick was a defensive player. It was never their plan. But at the same time, it was. The only other team to draft seven players on one side of the ball in the same draft was the 1985 Cleveland Browns. The difference? They drafted all offensive players.

“We really didn’t come in (to the draft) with that plan…but we basically did stick to the board and the groupings and it just happened it was all seven (on) defense,” former Panthers GM Marty Hurney said after the draft’s conclusion.

Defense-Heavy Free Agency Pointing to an Offense-Heavy Draft?

A year later, Cincinnati could be set up to follow in their footsteps. They’ve spent all of free agency revamping the defense and doing very little to build around Joe Burrow. Sure, Burrow will appreciate a competent defense. But at the end of the day, he still needs playmakers and protection. With eight selections to make next weekend, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bengals’ board happens to be offense-heavy.

The 5th overall pick is certainly going to be a blue chip offensive player. Duke Tobin made that pretty clear a few weeks ago. And with the lack of talent and depth at offensive line and wide receiver, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see the team double down at each position in the draft. A running back could also be in play late in the draft now that Giovani Bernard is in Tampa Bay. Does the team have their eye on any tight ends not named Kyle Pitts? With C.J. Uzomah coming off of an achilles surgery, they definitely could.

The Bengals will almost certainly draft a few defensive players. More than likely, they will be guys with athletic profiles on the defensive line. Don’t be shocked, though, if 6 or more of the Bengals’ selections are offensive players. All I’m saying is – if I’m the one making the final call when the Bengals are on the clock – I wouldn’t draft defense just to draft defense. Stick to the board. Draft talent. Fill needs. Win games.

Logan Vaughn

I write about Cincinnati sports in my free time.

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