The first step the Cincinnati Bengals took on day two of the 2021 NFL draft was to add more draft selection for day three.
In the second round, the Bengals pulled back in the second round in a deal with the New England Patriots, adding two extra picks in the middle of the round.
Here are some possible target designs for Saturday.
Line of defense
Iowa Defensive Tackle Daviyon Nixon is one of the top pass rushing defensive tackles in this draft class. Last season he had 13.5 tackles against loss and 5.5 sacks, and Nixon’s explosiveness made him one of the toughest matchups in the Big Ten last season. He returned his only interception last season for 71 yards.
Florida State’s Marvin Wilson and Texas A&M’s Bobby Brown III could also take on this role, and both could be selected for their size and physical characteristics in the fourth or fifth round on Saturday.
There is a group of eclectic defense attorneys who may be available later on Saturday including Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State attorney. Cooper was a two-time captain and second All-American team known for his energy and leadership in the state of Ohio.
Northern Iowa Defensive End Elerson Smith was one of the most prolific players in the Senior Bowl, adding speed and size to the defensive line. At 6-foot-6, Elerson is fast and had the rush to pass a strong group of offensive tackles in the Senior Bowl.
Penn State Edge rusher Shaka Toney was a captain and first-team All-Big Ten player whose speed stood out in the conference, leading him to 20.5 career sacks in a conference with many future NFL offensive linemen.
The third round saw a number of offensive linemen taking multiple options off the board, but two local players were able to add depth of attack. The size and athleticism of Miami’s Tommy Doyle and Cincinnati’s James Hudson got them on NFL draft radars earlier in the season. Both are prototypical sizes for the tackle position.
Tennessee offensive guard Trey Smith was an elite recruit and two-time all-SEC guard who has a great first step and side move. His footwork is his greatest strength, and Smith is also the size to be a quality watcher this season.
With the release of the veteran running back Giovani Bernard, the Bengals are able to add a pass that can run back and play games off the field and protect quarterback Joe Burrow during overtaking maneuvers. This class is deep with players who have these skills.
Michael Carter of North Carolina does these things as well as anyone outside of the first round in this design class. Carter is a planned round three pick and brings many of the same qualities Bernard brought to the Bengals. At 5-foot-8, Carter jumps around tackles and has quick footwork and breakaway speed.
Later in the draft, the state of Mississippi running back to Kylin Hill and Buffalo running back to Jaret Patterson bring similar skills with them. Hill had received 237 yards in three games in the SEC last season. Patterson was a Buffalo captain and one of the most prolific college football players in 2019 when he had 1,799 rushing yards and 209 receiving yards.
While Ja’Marr Chase will likely take on the role of AJ Green as the Bengals starting outside of the receiver, the Bengals didn’t replace the other receiver they lost from the 2020 roster. After Alex Erickson leaves the free agency, Cincinnati is able to add a slot receiver and a potential kick-returner.
Oklahoma State Wide Receiver Tylan Wallace is one of the best slot receivers on the board. Wallace is a burner on the field, has played off-field and on-screen games, and is a very physical run blocker.
Later in the draft, Iowa-wide recipient Ihmir Smith-Marsette could be a potential target. In Iowa, he was a focal point against any Big Ten team’s defense as opposing teams had to consider his ability as a deep threat and playmaker. He was also one of the conference’s best kick-returner.
Whop Philyor and Frank Darby could later be round picks and provide depth.