The Cincinnati Bengals have been on the clock since Week 17 of the 2019 season came to an end. It’s also been a foregone conclusion that Cincinnati will select reigning Heisman winner Joe Burrow with the first selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Outside of that, there’s a lot of work to be done in Cincinnati. Young head coach Zac Taylor has some decent pieces to feature in his offense. Now he needs to build up the other side of the ball.
That’s our focus as we provide you with a full seven-round mock draft for the Cincinnati Bengals.
First round, first pick: Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU
This is pretty much one of the biggest no-brainers we’ve seen leading up to the NFL Draft in some time. All things point to the reigning Heisman winner being the first overall pick come April. That’s magnified by the fact that Andy Dalton is currently on the trade block and the Bengals didn’t seek out a veteran starter in free agency.
The 6-foot-3 Burrow is coming off a record-breaking season at LSU that saw him eclipse over 6,000 total yards to go with 65 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He’s a Day 1 starter and could help turn around the Bengals’ ship under Taylor.
Second round, 33rd pick: Grant Delpit, safety, LSU
Cincinnati goes back to the defending champs for an upgrade in the defensive backfield. This time, it comes in the form of a player in Delpit who many had pegged to be a top-10 pick ahead of his junior season with the Tigers. Delpit struggled to an extent with coverage last season and is now seen more as a strong safety.
Despite this, the fit is there in Cincinnati. We’re talking about a physical 6-foot-3 defensive back who has shown tremendous play-making ability against elite competition in the SEC. The Bengals certainly have a need for an in-the-box safety with current starter Shawn Williams the only player at that position on the roster right now.
Third round, 65th pick: Cameron Dantzler, cornerback, Mississippi State
Despite signing both Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes away from the Minnesota Vikings in free agency, corner is a big need for Cincinnati. Former first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick could be headed out of town. William Jackson III has not necessarily turned into a top-end cover guy after also being selected in the first round.
It does seem rather obvious that Cincinnati is looking for length and physicality on the outside. If so, the 6-foot-2 Dantzler makes sense in the mid-rounds. He has a history of playing tremendous ball against the likes of LSU and Alabama. Success against big-time competition coupled with confidence and size makes him a potential steal of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Fourth round, 107th pick: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Cincinnati has a couple decent, young options out on the edge in that of Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson. The issue here is that neither one has really stepped up into prominent roles. While Hubbard did record 8.5 sacks in part-time action as a sophomore, Lawson saw his sack numbers drop to a combined six over the past two seasons after recording 8.5 himself as a rookie back in 2017.
Enter into the equation a player in Weaver, who was downright disruptive during his time with Boise State. The 265-point edge rusher recorded 47.5 tackles for loss and 34 sacks in three college seasons. He’d be an immediate impact player, something the Bengals need in their front seven. He would also be a long-term replacement for the aging Carlos Dunlap.
Fifth round, 147th pick: Quartney Davis, wide receiver, Texas A&M
Cincinnati’s decision to franchise A.J. Green was somewhat of a surprise. The team wants to give Burrow a proven receiving target outside of Tyler Boyd as a rookie. We really can’t blame the Bengals for this. But at best, Green is an option for only the next year or two. Meanwhile, former first-round pick John Ross continues to struggle with injuries.
This puts the Bengals in a situation of having to add at least one receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. In Davis, the team would be nabbing a 6-foot-2 receiver who plays bigger than his size and could become an immediate red-zone threat for Burrow.
Sixth round, 180th pick: Evan Weaver, linebacker, California
Weaver won’t stand out as one of the most-athletic linebackers in the world. He did run a 4.76 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and boasts a tremendous knack for finding the ball. Here’s a dude that recorded 181 total tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss as a senior for the Bears last season. He’d be an immediate special teams producer with an ability to eventually earn a starting job as a strong-side backer in the NFL.
Seventh round, 215th pick: Solomon Kindley, guard, Georgia
This part of the draft is all about taking chances on elite talents who have struggled to live up to the hype. Kindley fits that mold big time. At 6-foot-3 and almost 340 pounds, Kindley is an absolute mauler along the interior of the offensive line. He struggled with pass protection and consistency for the Bulldogs last season. Even then, getting someone with this build and upside in the 200’s would be a steal.