CINCINNATI — Most fans assume the Bengals will take Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell if he's on the board when they're on the clock in the first round.
Cincinnati has the fifth overall pick, which gives them a decent chance of landing Sewell.
LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is another prospect that fans, analysts and maybe even Joe Burrow is hoping falls to the Bengals at No. 5. He played with Burrow for two seasons and the duo dominated the SEC en route to a perfect 15-0 record and a National Championship.
Both Sewell and Chase are available in Joe Marino's latest mock draft. Instead of taking one of the two fan favorites, Cincinnati decides to take Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater with the fifth pick.
"The fun pick for Cincinnati would be reuniting Joe Burrow with his former top receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who he shattered SEC passing records with in 2019 at LSU," Marino wrote. "While the Bengals have a need to add to its wide receiver corps, the smart pick is to solidify the offensive line that saw Burrow get sacked on 7.3% of his dropbacks, hit 47 times, and ultimately suffer a season-ending knee injury in his 10th career start. In 10 games as a rookie, Burrow was sacked or hit 79 times. Slater appears to be the NFL’s favorite offensive line prospect and his addition to the lineup bolsters the Bengals’ front five and allows them to improve at two positions given the opportunity to transition Jonah Williams to right tackle."
Picking Slater ahead of Sewell and Chase is risky, but NFL teams appear to be higher on the Northwestern product than most originally anticipated.
Draft analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah also has the Bengals taking Slater over Sewell.
After months of assuming Sewell would be the first offensive lineman taken, there's appears to be a clear debate between about the top tackle in this class.
Of the three prospects, Chase is probably the most talented. The Bengals have to find a way to protect Burrow, which gives them even more reason to get help at tackle in free agency, rather than banking on a rookie like Slater or Sewell to keep their star quarterback upright.
Check out Marino's entire mock draft here.
You May Also Like:
Be sure to keep it locked on AllBengals all the time!
Follow AllBengals on Twitter: @AllBengals