The Cincinnati Bengals addressed three of their biggest needs on days one and two of the 2021 NFL Draft. They added some extremely talented players that can contribute immediately, but they are receiving some criticism for the players they selected.
The Bengals also accumulated more draft capital by trading back in the second round from pick 38 to 46 with the Patriots. They received two additional fourth-round picks from the trade, which puts them in prime position to add more depth with seven picks on day three of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are the Bengals draft grades and analysis of each individual pick in rounds 1-3.
Bengals Draft Grades for Rounds 1-3 | 2021 NFL Draft
Bengals Draft Grade: A
The Bengals were in desperate need of a true number one WR, and Ja’Marr Chase provides just that. After lighting up his pro day, paired with the success and chemistry he had with QB Joe Burrow in 2019, this pick seemed like a no-brainer. Obviously, the Bengals had a disastrous offensive line last season, and they could have drafted a potential perennial Pro Bowl OT Penei Sewell, but there seems to be a misconception about the offensive line in Cincinnati. They will improve dramatically next season due to the terrible coaching and the amount of injuries they endured last year. They have their LT and RT solidified, with the Riley Reiff singing, along with bringing in one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL, Frank Pollack. Pairing Chase with an emerging WR Tee Higgins, and excellent slot WR Tyler Boyd, will make for a dynamic offense.
OT Jackson Carman, Clemson
Bengals Draft Grade: B
Jackson Carman was the LT for the first overall pick QB Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. He has the size and quickness to play multiple positions in the NFL. The Bengals expect Carman to come in and compete right away for a starting spot at guard, and potentially move to tackle when Reiff is gone. The only issue with this pick, was they traded back eight spots and could have drafted a much better lineman at pick 38. Carman seemed like a reach at 46, but the coaching staff has extreme confidence in him, and he showed flashes of being dominant at Clemson. The trade also garnered them two additional fourth-round picks, and considering the amount of needs the Bengals have, it made perfect sense.
The Bengals will most likely grab another offensive lineman in the fourth round, which makes drafting Chase over Sewell understandable.
DE Joseph Ossai, Texas
Bengals Draft Grade: A
Joseph Ossai is a relentless and explosive pass rusher. The Bengals desperately needed to add another DE, due to the loss of Carl Lawson, regardless of the Trey Hendrickson signing. This provides much-needed depth for a group that was last in the NFL in sacks last season. Many experts thought Ossai was a lock for the second round, and the Bengals were able to grab him in the third round. Ossai is listed at 253 pounds, so he needs to put on more muscle, but he is extremely quick and has a very high motor. He already has a ton of power for his size, and if he can put some weight on, he could be an absolute steal. Ossai can contribute immediately and will most likely rotate with Sam Hubbard, and when in the nickel, they can move Hubbard inside and have Ossai on the outside.
Overall, the Bengals had a successful NFL Draft through the first three rounds. With the amount of picks they have remaining, they will continue to add depth to bolster their roster. They still should address OL, WR and DT, but if they can continue to finish the draft strong, the future looks bright in the Queen City.