The Cincinnati Bengals were unable to allure any of the top wide receivers through NFL Free Agency. Now, the WR market is essentially nonexistent, so the Bengals will have to solely focus on the NFL Draft to enhance their wideouts. This is not a bad situation by any means, due to the talented wideouts throughout this draft.
The Bengals have a tough decision to make on draft night with the fifth overall pick. LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase or Oregon Offensive Tackle Penei Sewell seem to be the consensus on who the Bengals should select. If Sewell is on the board, they have to pull the trigger. The offensive line has to be the priority of this franchise moving forward, and after only signing one offensive lineman in free agency, Sewell would be a tremendous upgrade to this struggling unit.
Assuming Cincinnati uses that first pick on Sewell, they should look for a pass catcher in the second round. With that in mind, these are three Bengals draft targets at wide receiver.
Bengals Draft Targets at Wide Receiver
Terrace Marshall Jr. | LSU
Joe Burrow and Terrace Marshall Jr. won a National Championship together at LSU in 2019. There is familiarity and chemistry in place already. In 2019, as the third WR on the depth chart, Marshall was still able to grab 13 touchdowns. He decided to opt out of the 2020 season after seven games, but still racked up 731 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Marshall had an outstanding pro day, measuring at 6’2 5/8 and weighing in at 205 pounds. He ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, to go along with a 39-inch vertical. If he falls to the second round, the Bengals should pick him without hesitation.
Rashod Bateman | Minnesota
Rashod Bateman was one of the most prolific wide receivers in Minnesota history. When he was a true freshman, he set multiple freshman records at Minnesota. He racked up 51 receptions, 704 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In his sophomore season, he hauled in 60 receptions, 1,219 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He opted out of his junior season, so he could focus on preparing for the NFL Draft. Bateman will excel on the outside in the NFL. At Minnesota, he was primarily used as a slot WR, because of their below average quarterback play. He has great size, listed at 6-2, 210 pounds. Draft experts questioned Bateman’s speed, but he quickly put that to bed with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash. Bateman would be a huge addition to the offense and can play all over the field, providing much-needed versatility.
Dyami Brown | North Carolina
Dyami Brown is listed at 6-0, 195 pounds. He is arguably one of the best wide receivers to ever play at North Carolina, despite only playing three seasons. He posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, and in his junior year was named Third Team All-American (2020) and First Team All-ACC (2020). His pro day was very impressive, running a 4.44-second 40-yard dash. Brown is electric in the open field and is an excellent deep ball threat that the Bengals desperately need, so he would be a huge addition the WR room.
Late Round Bengals Draft Targets at Wide Receiver
- Elijah Moore | Ole Miss
- Tylan Wallace | Oklahoma State
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette | Iowa
- Sage Surratt | Wake Forest
- Nico Collins | Michigan
If the Bengals add a couple of these wideouts to go along with Sewell in the first round, then their offense will improve dramatically. Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon are on track to start Week 1, which is encouraging. With all the additions they added on defense, they should be in prime position to compete for a wild card spot.