CINCINNATI — The debate between Penei Sewell and Ja'Marr Chase continues—at least between coaches and scouts at Paul Brown Stadium.
It seems like most draft analysts and a lot of former players have made up their minds. From Anthony Munoz to Dave Lapham and Tim McGee—they all think the Bengals should take Sewell with the fifth pick.
The same goes for longtime ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. He released his latest mock draft on Tuesday morning. He has the Bengals taking Sewell at No. 5.
"This was the toughest call for me. It came down to Sewell and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who knows Joe Burrow well from their time together at LSU and would be an excellent fit next to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd," Kiper wrote. "Ultimately, the Bengals' offensive line was such a disaster that I don't think they can pass on Sewell, who should start immediately at one of the tackle spots opposite Jonah Williams. The good thing for Cincinnati is that tackle and wideout are two of the deepest positions in this class, and it should be able to find a starter at those positions at the top of Round 2."
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Taking Sewell helps shore up Cincinnati's biggest weakness, but it is a deep offensive line class. Most NFL evaluators, including the Bengals, believe there are more quality offensive linemen than wide receivers in this draft.
Despite that, they take Sewell at No. 5. Most of their potential wide receiver targets in round two targets are already off the board by the time they're on the clock with the 38th pick. Terrace Marshall, Elijah Moore, Rashod Bateman and Kadarius Toney are gone.
The Bengals stick with receiver and take Dyami Brown out of North Carolina.
"Since I went offensive tackle for Cincinnati at No. 5, I wanted to get a receiver here, and there has been some buzz around Brown," Kiper wrote. "He had back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards while averaging 20 yards per catch. He's a deep threat who could also work on underneath routes."
Brown is a solid player. He's a field stretcher that should have some impact on the Bengals' offense as a rookie, but he is limited. He averaged over 20 yards-per-reception in his final two seasons for the Tar Heels.
Despite his stellar numbers, picking him at 38 would feel like a reach. The Bengals are known for trading down in round two. They could do that in this scenario. It's hard to believe that Brown would be ranked higher on the Bengals board than some of the top offensive linemen available.
Landon Dickerson, Creed Humphrey, Sam Cosmi, Dillon Radunz, Liam Eichenberg and Alex Leatherwood are still on the board in round two. All six prospects could be day one starters for the Bengals.
Humphrey and Leatherwood are still on the board after the second round in Kiper's mock.
If the Bengals decide to take Sewell at five, then they shouldn't rule out doubling down and taking another offensive lineman at 38. It's more likely than not that one of the linemen will be at the top of their board. If they're going to pass on Chase, they can't let it force them into taking Brown earlier than they'd want to.
If they traded down from No. 38 to No. 45 or later, then adding downfield threat would make much more sense. It would give them an extra pick to use later in the draft on an offensive or defensive lineman.
Check out Kiper's entire mock draft here.
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