CINCINNATI — The Bengals are expected to take one of two top prospects with the fifth overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft.
They appear to be down to Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell and LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
There has been plenty of speculation about what they could do at No. 5, but Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network might've had the most unique report about the Bengals' thought process.
A source told the NFL insider that Cincinnati is leaning Chase for an odd reason.
"You have to understand the mentality of the Bengals’ front office. They got a damn good receiver in Tee Higgins last year, and they must protect Burrow," the source told Pauline. "But the way they see it is the team lost A.J. Green, and after what turned into a contentious relationship, the priority of many in the front office is to replace Green with another receiver and stick it to him."
This doesn't add up for a few reasons. First, the Bengals could draft Chase and he could be the next great wide receiver, but that doesn't mean Cincinnati is "sticking it" to Green.
Did Chad Johnson feel left out when Cincinnati dealt him to New England a decade ago after drafting Green with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft? Ochocinco was more worried about winning games with the Patriots. Green has bigger fish to fry—like rejuvenating his career in Arizona.
With that said, he did struggle last season. Joe Burrow and Green were never on the same page.
That still doesn't mean they're going to let thoughts about a past great impact their decision making during the draft. If they take Chase it's because he's the best player on their board. He would also help solve their downfield passing game issues. Adding a premium weapon like Chase could do wonders for the Bengals' offense.
If they take Sewell it's because they know how valuable he could be in their quest to keep Burrow upright.
Things between the organization and Green didn't end the way most in Cincinnati hoped, but Mike Brown and Duke Tobin won't be worried about the former Bengals legend on Thursday night when they're on the clock with the fifth pick.
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