NFL mock drafts have the Cincinnati Bengals doing many things this year.
But taking a running back is a new one.
That’s just what the Bengals do in a new two-round mock draft, taking Penei Sewell at fifth overall and using the 38th pick on North Carolina ball-carrier Javonte Williams.
Here’s the writeup from NFL.com’s Chad Reuter:
“Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury occurred in the pocket when he was hit by one defender coming in high and another low. The team must improve its offensive line so that doesn’t happen again. Sewell can dominate at left tackle, former first-round pick Jonah Williams can play right tackle (where he started for two years at Alabama) and veteran acquisition Riley Reiff has experience at guard. Starting running back Joe Mixon also fought injuries in 2020, and the team recently released veteran Giovani Bernard. Williams’ powerful running style, therefore, will be on the Bengals’ radar at No. 38.”
Running back, of course, is one of the least likely things the Bengals will take in the opening four rounds or so, especially since the team likes Trayveon Williams so much and just re-signed Samaje Perine.
Which isn’t to say Javonte Williams isn’t a good prospect — he averaged 6.3 yards per carry with 29 touchdowns over four seasons.
But the only way running back this early becomes a viable option is if the Bengals add to the offensive line and pass-rush in free agency before the draft starts. Even then, the team’s big board figures to prioritize other spots.
Given the nature of the position and the injury woes of Mixon and Williams, the Bengals do figure to take a running back — but taking on in the top 50 would be a stunner.