In a recent article on NFL.com, NFL Draft analyst Chad Reuter went through each team and theorized what the ideal first two picks for each team would be.
This includes the Cincinnati Bengals, so who did they end up with?
The ideal first-round pick here for the Bengals is Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt. An older prospect, Wyatt has good size and athleticism to pair with a decent amount of production in his college days. He should be able to immediately come in and contribute on the Bengals defensive front as a pass-rusher if this were to be the pick.
The big question with Wyatt is if he will be better getting away from Georgia’s scheme or if he was mostly tapped out as a player playing along a plethora of future NFL talent.
The second ideal pick laid out here is Virginia Cavaliers tight end Jelani Woods. Now, the Bengals do have a clear need at close end following the departure of CJ Uzomah in free agency and him only being replaced by Hayden Hurst on a one-year deal.
If Woods is the ideal Round 2 pick is questionable though. In an extremely weak tight end class, the Bengals may not want to spend a high-round pick on a tight end prospect who might have gone later in a stronger tight end class.
Woods does at least offer tantalizing athleticism that if it can be harnessed, he has the potential to make him a dangerous weapon. It’s just not something he showed much evidence of utilizing in college.
On the two picks that Reuter made, he had this to say:
“By shoring up the offensive line in free agency, the Bengals opened up many possibilities for themselves early in the draft. Even if they decide to bring back Larry Ogunjobi (whose failed physical preempted an agreed-to pact with the Bears) on a one-year deal to contribute after recovering from his foot injury, they could use another interior pass rush threat like Wyatt. Their depth is lacking at tight end, as well, after losing CJ Uzomah to free agency; Woods can serve as a literally big threat (measuring 6-7 and 259 pounds) down the seam and in the red zone for Joe Burrow while also offering strength as a run blocker. ”
In an ideal two rounds, going defense again in the second round would probably be more ideal, then going tight end in the third round where someone like Woods or Dulcich may still be there. With the edge and cornerback and safety talent still possibly available at pick 62, that route seems more ideal.