The Bengals landed their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow in last year’s NFL Draft. Who will Cincinnati add to help him in this year’s event?
The mere presence of Joe Burrow on the Bengals’ roster drastically changes the long-term projection of Zac Taylor’s team. The challenge for Cincinnati now is to surround their franchise quarterback with enough talent to lift the franchise into playoff contention.
That might not happen in 2021, but the Bengals are starting to assemble an intriguing young corps. The team’s offseason needs are significant, but not overwhelming. The top priority must be to assemble an offensive line capable of keeping Burrow upright more often. His season-ending injury wasn’t an accident. It was a predictable result of taking entirely too many hits.
The defense requires less work, but securing an upgrade at cornerback would drastically improve the team’s performance. William Jackson is a significant flight risk via free agency. If the Bengals don’t pay up to keep him, they might need to draft two impact corners in the early rounds.
The best news for the Bengals is they don’t have to take a quarterback at No. 5. That gives them a ton of potential options. Cincinnati fans should focus on these five prospects.
5. Patrick Surtain
Taking Surtain at No. 5 would be a reach in terms of value. He is, however, the best corner in this year’s draft class. That makes him someone Cincinnati could at least entertain drafting in Round 1.
If they do want to bring Surtain into the fold the prudent thing to do would be to trade down a few spots to grab him. Some quarterback-hungry team would be more than willing to give up valuable draft capital to swap picks with Cincinnati. Surtain would be an instant impact starter right away for the Bengals, but he should only be acquired after a trade down the board.