CINCINNATI – With the free agency only six weeks away, the Bengals still have plenty of time to come up with a plan for the draft. It is becoming increasingly clear that they will likely take an offensive player with the fifth overall win.
Oregon’s Penei Sewell and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase are high on most Bengals fans’ wish lists, but there’s a chance neither of them will drop at number 5.
There are plenty of other great options when these two guys are off the board. With Mock Draft 2.0, Cincinnati is arguably the best skill player in the country.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. New York Jets (2-14) – Yes’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
3. Miami Dolphins (10-6) (via Texans) – According to Sewell, OT, Oregon
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
For the second mock in a row, Sewell and Chase are both off the board when the Bengals are on the clock. They’d take any player if they were available, but with the best offensive lineman and broad receiver off the board, the Bengals are taking arguably the best view in the draft that isn’t called Trevor Lawrence.
Some will say that Chase is the second best prospect and that may be true. If so, then Kyle Pitts is just under a third. He’s one of the best close prospects ever.
The 20-year-old had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games for Florida in 2020. He had an average of 17.9 yards per reception and has demonstrated the ability to line up on the entire field.
Pitts can hit collateral and cornerbacks in men cover. He has a knack for finding weak spots against zone defenses. Zac Taylor can put it in the slot or out and be sure that Pitts will be open.
At 6-6, 246 pounds, he’s the ideal size and should be able to add a few pounds to his frame without losing its explosiveness.
The Bengals took a close look at OJ Howard with their ninth overall win in the 2017 NFL Draft. Pitts is a much better prospect than Howard. He has drawn comparisons with Darren Waller, who is arguably the second best close end in the game.
Pitts won’t turn 21 until October 6, which means he could just scratch the surface of his true potential.
The Florida product has an age advantage over DeVonta Smith, who will be 23 in November. That’s one of the many reasons the Bengals are taking Pitts at this point.
He’s the best candidate on the board. Pitts is better than Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, or Smith.
Some will wonder about the position value, but ask Patrick Mahomes how valuable Travis Kelce is to the Chiefs’ offense. Same goes for Rob Gronkowski, who may not be what he used to be, but is a big reason Tom Brady seems to go to the Super Bowl every year.
Joe Burrow will be a lucky man with the Bengals adding a weapon like Pitts this off-season. He should immediately put a spark on the Bengals offensive.
Pitts has the potential to become one of, if not the best, close ends in the NFL.
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
7. Detroit Lions (5-11) – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Justin Fields, QB, State of Ohio
9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
11. New York Giants (6-10) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
12. San Francisco 49ers (6-10) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota state
13. LA chargers (7-9) – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwest
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
15. New England Patriots (7-9) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
18. Dolphins – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
23.Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) – Trevon Moehrig, S., Missouri
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
25. Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4) – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
29. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
32. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida state
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