In the first of our 32-team, seven-round mock draft series, we focus on the Cincinnati Bengals, who own the No. 1 overall pick. There isn’t much intrigue surrounding the pick; it’s going to be Joe Burrow, the National Championship-winning quarterback from LSU who had one of the most sensational single seasons in the history of college football.
But it’s what the Bengals do after the Burrow pick that will determine how much they ‘win’ the 2020 NFL draft by.
Let’s get started:
1.01: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
-This one’s obvious. Burrow is the top quarterback prospect and a player who’s been pegged as one of the safest franchise-caliber quarterback prospects to come out in many years. He deserves to be the first player chosen and will instantly give the Bengals the kind of legitimate credibility they’ve been lacking since the days of Carson Palmer.
2.33: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
-With a young franchise quarterback in place, it’s critical that the Bengals make sure they keep him protected. There will be a big run on offensive tackles in the first round, but Jones is the most likely to fall to the top of Day 2. If he does, the Bengals will waste little time adding this quality offensive lineman who projects as an early-career starter in the NFL.
3.65: Brandon Ayiuk ,WR, Arizona State
-Another investment in Burrow, here. Ayiuk has the potential to be a dynamic slot receiver in the NFL and will provide the Bengals offense with the kind of run-after-catch ability that no other receiver on the depth chart can produce. Burrow will need a bailout target and Ayiuk is the kind of second-level target who can gobble catches in bunches.
4.107: Logan Stenberg, iOL, Kentucky
-Steinberg is a nasty road-grader who loves punishing his opponents along the interior of the line. He’d give the Bengals the kind of attitude adjustment it needs upfront. If Stenberg slides this far in the draft, he’ll be deemed one of the best available on Day 3.
5.147: Anfernee Jennings, Edge, Alabama
-Jennings isn’t one of the premier edge rushers in this year’s draft, but he does possess starter’s traits with pass-rushing upside. That’s what teams go hunting for in these rounds, and with the way this mock draft fell, the Bengals hit a home run with Jennings.
6.180: Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest
-A rangy and explosive linebacker, Strnad offers immediate value on special teams as he develops his body into more of a full-time player in the NFL. At worst, he’ll be a quality reserve through the duration of his first contract.
7.215: Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
-The First-Team All-American Athletic Conference defensive back totaled four interceptions to go along with 13 pass breakups in 2019. He checked the position’s requirements at the NFL Combine (4.44 40-yard dash), and at 6-1, 205 pounds, he presents with the size/athleticism/production combination worthy of a Day-3 pick.