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Cincinnati Bengals Draft Grade

The Cincinnati Bengals first round pick, the fifth overall pick, they took Ja'Marr Chase the wide receiver out of LSU. He's six foot one and 208 pounds. This guy had big time production. He set a single season SEC record for receiving yards and touchdowns in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season but last time we saw Ja'Marr Chase, he was absolutely shredding SEC defenses, and he did it with great hands. He has some of the best hands in this entire draft with great ball skills. Chase is a really good after the catch player because he's elusive and he knows how to get in the open field, and turn small gains into big yards. He is also a very underrated blocker. When you watch his tape he knows how to use his physical frame and make good blocks for guys downfield. He can make plays at all three levels underneath, the intermediate, and the deep ball. He's a very complete wide receiver. The knock on him would be that he only had one great year in college, it is a limited sample size, however it was a tremendous year in 2019, that one year was one of the best years we've ever seen in college football from. wide receiver So, I'm not gonna knock him too much for that, but doesn't have he also ran a very basic route tree at LSU so he's going to have to expand that and learn to run more routes at the next level. For a guy that's 6'1" 208 pounds, he has home run speed and he can really pull away in the open field. He high points the ball and dominates those 50/50 ball situations. Ja'Marr Chase was my number one wide receiver in this class, because he's a bigger, stronger, more physical wide receiver than Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith, but he still has that big play ability. 

In the second round the Bengals took Jackson Carman, the offensive tackle out of Clemson. He's six foot five and 317 pounds. He has NFL size and upper body strength for an offensive tackle. Carman has heavy powerful hands, and he really uses them well to help control defensive lineman. He's got good, not great reaction speed but very solid in that regard, and he's has good agility for his size as well but not elite agility. Carman moves pretty well for a big guy. He reads defenses at a high level, and this might be the best part about his game, because he really knows when a stunt, a twist or a blitz is coming and he knows more often than not. He's very good at reacting to those sorts of plays. The big knocks on him are his footwork. This guy has really, really terrible footwork. He's sloppy, and it's going to need to be fixed, It's something he's going to have to work on immediately, or he's going to be exposed by NFL pass rushers. He also struggled with his weight, and his game shape at times, while at Clemson and that's a red flag as well because these big guys, they need to be in good game shape at the next level and if you're already having issues in college that's concerning for me going into the NFL. Carman also struggles in pass sets versus quick pass rushers. When you breakdown  Jackson Carman, he's a good player and he has a lot of things that you look for in an NFL offensive tackle, but not a starting offensive tackle. Some of his issues could be fixed with coaching and practice, but I just don't see starting potential at tackle for Jackson Carman. He's more than likely going to have to move to guard because he just doesn't have the athletic ability to play tackle at the next level.

When you look at what the Bengals did in this draft, I was really high on Ja'Marr Chase, like I said he was my number one receiver in this class, but it doesn't mean that I liked this pick by the Bengals. They had a chance to draft a generational talent at offensive tackle in Penei Sewell out of Oregon, a position that they desperately needed to fill because their offensive line was atrocious, and you could have gotten a guy that was going to be an absolute game changer at that position to protect your franchise quarterback, but instead you went with Ja'Marr Chase a wide receiver at a position that you don't nearly need as much. I understand wanting to add a playmaker for Joe Burrow and I understand the LSU connection. It makes sense, but wide receivers are a dime a dozen. This is a position group that is deep almost every year. It seems like every year that position group gets deeper and deeper. The Bengals could have added a wide receiver in the second round or third round and probably still found really good value, but you're not going to get one of the best offensive linemen in 10 years in the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft. As good as your Ja'Marr Chase is, this was one of the worst picks in the first round. The Bengals did try to address the mistake by taking Jackson Carman in the second round, but this is a guy like I said is probably going to have to move to guard. Carman was a big reach in the second round. There were better tackles available and were better offensive lineman available on the board when they took Carman. Most analysts, myself included, had a third round grade on Carman and I even saw some analysts who had a fourth round grade on Jackson Carman, so this was a huge reach taking this guy in the second round. I do like the pick of Joseph Ossai, the defensive end from Texas. I thought it was a nice value in the third round. When you evaluate this draft class as a whole; the Bengals take three defensive ends, a defensive tackle, and then a kicker in the fifth round. I was not impressed at all with what the Cincinnati Bengals did in this draft, and I'm going to give them a "C-" draft grade.

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