CINCINNATI — Most people believe the Bengals are going to take two offensive players with their first two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Some think they're going to select Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell, while others think they'll take LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
If they take Chase, most expect them to address the offensive line in round two. If they take Sewell, a lot of people think they'll go with a wide receiver with the No. 38 pick.
NFL analyst Chad Reuter named two "ideal" draft picks for all 32 NFL teams. He has the Bengals taking Sewell at No. 5 and North Carolina running back Javonte Williams in round two (38th overall).
"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," Reuter wrote. "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."
It would be shocking to see the Bengals pick a running back that early. Bernard is in Tampa Bay and Mixon fought injuries, but they paid him for a reason. They also re-signed Samaje Perine this offseason.
Taking a running back on day three of the draft is one thing, but the 38th pick needs to be an instant contributor. Maybe it's a wide receiver or a defensive end. They could double down on the offensive line and take an interior lineman like Landon Dickerson or Creed Humphrey.
Williams is a fine prospect, but with Mixon under contract for the next four seasons, the Bengals don't need to address the running back position that early.
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