The Cincinnati Bengals have been on the clock since the end of the 2019 season. Thanks to a 2-14 record, the Bengals hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. And naturally, since they were the league’s worst team in 2019, they have a number of needs in 2020.
Bengals Draft Needs
Considering the team finished 2019 at 2-14, the Bengals have many holes to fill on their roster. While it’s not all going to come from the draft, Cincinnati should be able to address these areas of weakness in April, especially considering how deep some of these position groups are.
First and foremost, the Bengals have a clear need at quarterback. The team is likely to move on from veteran starter Andy Dalton. Similarly, Ryan Finley did not look like an NFL starter in his time under center.
Beyond QB, the Bengals need to address their offensive line. They have need on both the interior line, at guard, and at offensive tackle. Last year’s No. 11 overall pick, OT Jonah Williams from Alabama, did not play a single down for Cincy in 2019. He tore his shoulder in June. He’ll likely start at left tackle.
The team could move on from Cordy Glenn, considering how 2019 went for the veteran. Glenn played in only six game last season, thanks in part to injury and team suspension. They also have huge holes at guard.
Cincinnati also has uncertainly at wide receiver, given A.J. Green‘s impending free agency and questions surrounding his health. Green could be franchise tagged.
The Bengals also need to upgrade their linebacking corps. Cutting Preston Brown helped, and rookie Germaine Pratt showed potential, but overall this unit needs an upgrade. Nick Vigil is a free agent, and while the team should consider resigning him, they could stand to upgrade here as well.
Cincinnati has a star in the making with William Jackson, and in all likelihood, they’ll exercise the fifth-year option on his contract. Darqueze Dennard, their slot corner, is an impending free agent. The team could also move on from Dre Kirkpatrick.
Bengals Draft Capital
The Cincinnati Bengals hold the top pick in each of the seven rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. As such, they are in a solid position to begin filling needs.
Although there have been the traditional trade rumors, most expect the Bengals to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick. Burrow would immediately slot into the starting position for the club, especially once the team parts ways with veteran Andy Dalton.
There’s little doubt Cincinnati will select Burrow, and to choose another prospect without trading down for a king’s ransom, doesn’t seem likely.
The Bengals may wait until Day 2 of the draft to address offensive tackle and cornerback. Both of those positions have quality depth through the third round.
The Bengals could also explore options like Minnesota WR Tyler Johnson with the No. 65, then wait until the fourth round with pick No. 97 for someone like Kansas’s OT Hakeem Adeniji. Oregon LB Troy Dye should also be an option for them in the fourth round.
Cincinnati also holds the No. 129 (fifth), No. 161 (sixth) and No. 193 (seventh) picks.
The Bengals can quickly reshape their franchise between free agency and the draft. They don’t need to rely on the draft to fill all of their needs, since there are quality guards, in addition to linebackers and defensive tackles that will be on the market. They should also be able to add secondary depth via free agency.
Developing their draft prospects will be key to Cincinnati’s return from the “Bungles” to the Bengals.