Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft after trades shake up first round

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Bill Riccette
·8 min read
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It’s the last Monday in March, the NCAA Tournament has reached its Elite 8 (and my bracket was trashed in the first weekend, by the way, thanks to Loyola and Abilene Christian) and we are mere weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft.

Normally, this would be a good time for a fresh mock draft, regardless. But now it gets even more interesting after three teams traded picks in the blink of an eye. To recap, the day was highlighted by the San Francisco 49ers moving up from No. 12 to No, 3 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, also sending a first and a compensatory third in 2022 and a first in 2023 to Miami.

Miami then flipped the 12th pick along with No. 123 this year and their original first-round pick in 2022 to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nos. 6 and 156. So it’s now the 49ers at No. 3, the Dolphins at No. 6 and the Eagles at No. 12.

This is certainly good news for the Bengals. It’s now a near-forgone conclusion that the first three picks will all be quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson to the New York Jets and Justin Fields/Trey Lance/Mac Jones to the 49ers. That will push talent down to the Bengals at No. 5, should they choose to stay there. Cincinnati is also still a fairly prime candidate to send the pick to another team looking to come up for a quarterback (Detroit? Carolina? Denver? New England?)

The Bengals’ options seem even more wide-open now than they were before the draft. So let’s not waste any more time and get to the picks for this latest mock draft, courtesy of the Mock Draft Machine at The Draft Network and using their Predictive Board.

No. 12 (projected trade with Philadelphia) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After trading down twice, first with Carolina to No. 8 for a second-round pick and then with the Eagles to No. 12 for a third-round pick, the Bengals see Waddle on the board after both Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater are taken. It may not be Ja’Marr Chase, but there are still some out there that even have Waddle as their WR1 and to add him as Joe Burrow’s new weapon and gain two picks on the second day of the draft feels like a win for this franchise.

No. 38 – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg (74) lines up against Alabama during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Sure, the Bengals just signed Riley Reiff and have supposedly told him he is playing right tackle. We also know that’s probably not going to stop the Bengals from taking a tackle early in the draft, since Reiff is only signed for one year. And in this mock, with the first of two consecutive picks in the second round, the Bengals happen to see all 6’6″ and 305 pounds of Eichenberg still on the board. Could the Bengals kick him inside to begin his career? Perhaps. Maybe it’ll be Jonah Williams. It could even be Reiff. Regardless, the Bengals get flexibility in the trenches with this pick and it should make Joe Mixon just as happy as Joe Burrow.

No. 39 (projected trade with Carolina) – Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas

Oct 31, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Texas Longhorns linebacker Joseph Ossai (46) waits on the snap during the third quarter of the game agains the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Texas won 41-34. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

With the second of their round-two picks, the Bengals boost up the pass-rush. The team, of course, essentially swapped Carl Lawson for Trey Hendrickson. While the face value of the contract looks quite large (four years, $60 million), it’s basically a “pay-as-you-go” contract. Only $16 million is guaranteed and that is all paid in 2021. Hendrickson has a $6 million roster bonus due in March 2022 and a $3 million roster bonus due in March 2023. So it’s basically a year-by-year decision for the team. Regardless, the team can still use bodies besides Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard and Ossai provides plenty of upside at this spot, especially as the sixth edge-defender off the board. He has room to grow, but he has plenty of athleticism to fall back on.

No. 69 – Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Jan 28, 2021; National defensive lineman Ade Ogundeji of Notre Dame (91) drills against National offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz of Wisconsin -Whitewater (71) during National practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Meinerz made a big name for himself during the Senior Bowl as the latest Division III gem uncovered by Jim Nagy and company. Meinerz can be a mauler for the Bengals for the long-term and would immediately push Quinton Spain for a starting job, assuming one of the three tackles also kicks inside to the other guard spot.

No. 70 (projected trade with Philadelphia) – Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Tommy Togiai was among 14 former Ohio State players to receive invitations to the NFL scouting combine.
[Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]
Sp Osufb Media Day Jb 81

Interestingly enough, we ended up with back-to-back picks in round three as well and we’ll use the second pick of round three to add some beef to the interior defensive line. Togiai had his breakout season in 2020 with three sacks in just seven games and 4.5 tackles for a loss. He can begin in a rotation behind DJ Reader and new addition Larry Ogunjobi and can help stop the run on early downs.

No. 111 – Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss

Oct 24, 2020; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels tight end Kenny Yeboah (84) jumps over Auburn Tigers defensive back Jaylin Simpson (36) during the second half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bengals are considering a tight end in this draft and miss on some of the top guys, namely Kyle Pitts, Pat Freiermuth and even Brevin Jordan, Yeboah is a fine option here in round four. He’s an underrated pass-catching tight end and showed some of his skills at the Senior Bowl, including catching the touchdown pass from Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks that put the National team ahead for good. Yeboah recorded 524 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2020 for the Rebels after totaling 538 yards and six touchdowns (five in 2019) in four years at Temple.

No. 149 – Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Oct 31, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive back Caden Sterns (7) looks over the Oklahoma State Cowboys offense during the third quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Texas won 41-34. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Sterns began his college career with a bang, recording four interceptions as a freshman. He had been pretty quiet since then, but still adds some depth at the safety position and a good special teams option for the Bengals, especially with longtime special-teamer Cethan Carter no longer in the mix.

No. 190 – Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois

Nov 2, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe (9) celebrates his touchdown during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

We knew Imatorbhebhe was going to be a solid sleeper in this draft as a deep threat. His Pro Day only helped further build his value. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash and had an 11-feet 2-inch broad jump. But his most impressive number was his 46.5-inch vertical jump, showing incredible explosion. For comparison’s sake, the Combine record for the vertical jump is 46 inches by Gerald Sensabaugh in 2005.

No. 202 (from Miami via Houston) – Shaka Toney, Edge, Penn State

Nov 21, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shaka Toney (18) reacts to a defensive play against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Oweh certainly got all the attention at Penn State's pro day with a 4.36 40. But Toney turned in a solid day himself. He ran a 4.51 40 with a broad jump of 10'8" and a 39-inch vertical. He recorded five sacks in eight games in 2020 and totaled 20.5 in four years in Happy Valley. He may not be the flashiest of edge-rushers, but outside the top 200 picks, it's worth a shot in the rotation to see what he can bring to the table.

No. 235 (from Detroit via Seattle) – Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas

Sep 3, 2020; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Central Arkansas Bears defensive back Robert Rochell (9) scores after UAB Blazers cornerback Mac McWilliams (15) fumbled during the first half at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Rochell is a name many are saying to not sleep on at the cornerback position. He had 38 pass breakups and ten interceptions in his college career, one that saw him come to UCA as a wide receiver coming off a torn ACL. But he made the switch in 2017 and has played well since. He can be a really interesting seventh-round pick and is a solid way to end this mock draft.

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