CINCINNATI — The Bengals' chances of staying put and using the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft went up on Monday afternoon.
The Panthers were one of a few teams that were willing to move up from the eighth pick to land a franchise quarterback. Instead, they traded for former Jets signal-caller Sam Darnold.
Carolina is exercising Darnold's fifth-year option, which is a sign that they believe the 23-year-old can be their quarterback of the future.
What does it mean for the Bengals?
Well, it confirms that the Jets are taking a quarterback with the second overall pick. BYU's Zach Wilson will likely be the selection.
The 49ers traded two first round picks to move up to No. 3 last month, which means three quarterbacks are likely going to be taken with the first three selections of the draft.
The Falcons could do a few things with the fourth pick. They could trade down. They may stand pat and take a quarterback. They could also take the top player on their board, which could be Kyle Pitts, Ja'Marr Chase or Penei Sewell.
Regardless of what the Falcons do, the Bengals will get their shot at two of the three top non quarterbacks in the draft.
There was a chance they could trade down with the Panthers, but that option went away with the Darnold trade.
Denver is the last team in the top 10 that may be willing to move up for a quarterback. It remains to be seen if Cincinnati would be willing to drop from No. 5 to No. 9. To make matters worse, Carolina has their quarterback. Now they're in a position to take Sewell, Pitts or Chase with the eighth selection now that they have Darnold under center.
Monday's trade didn't hurt the Bengals, but it did take one of their potential options off the board. Their draft plans will likely come down to Chase or Sewell, but that could change between now and April 29.
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