The Cincinnati Bengals can still land a gifted offensive lineman even if the team passes on Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Sewell, a 6-6, 331-pounder, is considered one of the top linemen in the country and a good fit for the Bengals, who finished 4-11-1 last year.
But there is growing speculation that Cincinnati is likely to select former Louisiana State University wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick in the draft.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow won a CFP National Championship with Chase, a 6-0, 207-pound receiver, as one of his main targets in 2019, and is lobbying Orange and Black brass to pick him instead of an offensive lineman.
If Cincinnati goes with Chase, they can still find a talented lineman in Christian Darrisaw, from Virginia Tech.
According to the NFL Network, Darrisaw, who won First Team All-ACC honors, could still be available in the second round.
The 6-5, 314-pound offensive tackle from Petersburg, Virginia is considered the 26th best prospect, according to Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network.
After the fifth selection in the first round, the Bengals will select again with the 38th pick in the draft. And Darrisaw could still be available to fit the offensive line needs for the Bengals.
Jeremiah’s assessment of Darrisaw said that he was a solid and reliable starter at left tackle.
“He has ideal size, length and balance. In the passing game, he has average foot quickness in his set but can bend his knees and plays with a firm base. He has a sharp two-hand punch and generally keeps defenders away from his chest,” he said. “He plays with excellent awareness. He uses his upper-body strength to torque and turn defenders in the run game. He takes good angles to the second level, where he’s able to position and wall off linebackers. He will have some trouble adjusting in space because of his average change-of-direction skills.”
The Season Extended
And in other notable news, the NFL added a 17th game to the schedule – which means the Bengals will host the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the season.
Katie Blackburn, the executive vice president of the team made the announcement Tuesday.
With the NFL moving to a 17-game regular season, this year the Bengals will host nine regular season home games at Paul Brown Stadium instead of what historically been eight games. That makes for more excitement and even a better value with a 2021 season package,” she said.
For me, personally, it means one more trip through the Skyline Chili lunch line in the media box (fingers crossed I can attend this year.)
Blackburn went on to say, “we are investing in our fans to create the ultimate gameday experience with new uniforms, new benefits and a new energy in The Jungle. Don’t miss a moment of our New Stripes season.”
Let’s hope that ultimate gameday experience includes protecting Burrow – who went down in week 11 with a gruesome knee injury. He missed the rest of the season and had reconstructive surgery.
Burrow needs protection and whether it’s Sewell or Darrisaw the team adds to the roster, that is a priority. Either way they will pick up reputable protector.
Chase can catch the ball form Burrow – the duo has proven that. But the possible first pick won’t live up to expectations if the 2019 Heisman Trophy winning QB is on his back – or in the hospital.
Adding another game to the schedule is long overdue – and adding a quality lineman is overdue as well. Let’s just hope Burrow makes it to that 17th game in one piece.
Bengals 2021 home opponents:
– Baltimore Raven
– Cleveland Browns
– Pittsburgh Steelers
– Green Bay Packers
– Jacksonville Jaguars
– Kansas City Chiefs
– Los Angeles Chargers
– Minnesota Vikings
– San Francisco 49ers
Bengals 2021 away opponents:
– Baltimore Ravens
– Cleveland Browns
– Pittsburgh Steelers
– Chicago Bears
– Denver Broncos
– Detroit Lions
– Las Vegas Raiders
– New York Jets
Del Duduit covers the Bengals for the Daily Times