Hey Draftseasoners, it’s that time of year again. It is the time to look at a team’s every single free agent loss and gain. We will also look at their biggest needs and put a plan together of how they’ll attack the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. We will start with the lowly Cincinnati Bengals and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s not waste any more time and start with those pesky striped cats.
QB, OL, WR, LB, TE
FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS
CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, DT DJ Reader, WR AJ Green (franchised), G Xavier Sua’Filo
FREE AGENT LOSSES
TE Tyler Eifert, OT Cordy Glenn, G John Miller, DT Andrew Billings, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB B.W. Webb, S Clayton Fejedelem
ROUND 1 TARGETS
QB Joe Burrow, OLB Chase Young, CB Jeffrey Okudah, LB Isiah Simmons, OT Mekhi Becton, OT Tristan Wirfs
ROUND 2 TARGETS
G/C Cesar Ruiz, OT Austin Jackson, OT Josh Jones, OT Ezra Cleveland, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Jalen Reagor, WR Tee Higgins, LB Zack Baun, TE Cole Kmet, QB Jacob Eason, QB Jalen Hurts
ROUND 3 TARGETS
OL Tyler Biadasz, OT Ben Bartch, OL Solomon Kindley, OL Shane Lemieux, LB Malik Harrison, LB Troy Dye, LB Jordyn Brooks, WR Tyler Johnson, WR Michael Pittman Jr., WR Van Jefferson, WR K.J. Hill, WR Chase Claypool, TE Brycen Hopkins, TE Adam Trautman, TE Thaddeus Moss
NFL DRAFT PLAN OF ATTACK
The Bengals plan of attack for round one is very simple. DRAFT JOE BURROW. Unless they get blown out of the water by a deal that is going to set their franchise up for success for the next decade, TAKE BURROW. It’s that simple. He’s a pro-ready prospect, with the size, arm, smarts, and heart to be the face of his Bengals franchise and the next young great NFL quarterback. He will be the focal point of their offense and a guy they can begin to build around.
In round 2, the Bengals would love to give Joe Burrow a weapon, but they might be better off addressing another glaring need instead. The Bengals have a huge hole at linebacker and can’t go into the 2020 season with their current group. The best Bengals linebacker from last year was Germaine Pratt who had just 76 tackles on the season. They have to address this position early and a guy that could be sitting for them at the top of the second round is Wisconsin’s Zack Baun. Baun is a bit of a tweener who can be a productive edge rusher but also could play more of a traditional linebacker role. He has the athletic ability to cover backs and tight ends and can get sideline to sideline in a hurry. Baun could be the spark the middle of the Bengals defense has been looking for. If Baun isn’t available, look for the Bengals to get Burrow some help in the form of a pass-catcher or a big blocker. If they go with a receiver, Brandon Aiyuk or Jalen Reagor could be options. If they look for an offensive lineman, Cesar Ruiz or Lloyd Cushenberry could be considered.
If the Bengals go with Burrow and Baun as expected in the first two rounds, then they should give Burrow his weapon in the third. With the 2020 Draft being loaded with pass catchers, they could find some great value at the start of the third round. Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson, USC’s Michael Pittman Jr., Ohio State’s KJ Hill, and Florida’s Van Jefferson could all be options. Pittman would be a big physical target who can go up and get a jump ball. Johnson is a similar prospect who can make plays on the outside, while Hill and Jefferson would be dangerous working out of the slot and could quickly earn the trust of young Mr. Burrow. The Bengals could also go with an offensive lineman like Solomon Kindley, or Shane Lemieux. Either one of these guys could potentially start early in their rookie seasons. If the Bengals still need a linebacker at this point, Malik Harrison or Troy Dye could be the choice. If they want to give Burrow a safety net, they could take a tight end like Thaddeus Moss, Brycen Hopkins, or Adam Trautman.
Round 1: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Round 2: LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Round 3: WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC