The 2020 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 23. As a lead up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of each team’s current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. Find all teams and the rest of our draft content in our NFL Draft Hub.
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Cincinnati Bengals 2020 Draft Picks Overview
Round 1 (1)
Round 2 (33)
Round 3 (65)
Round 4 (107)
Round 5 (147)
Round 6 (180)
Round 7 (215)
Cincinnati Bengals Offense
by Rich Hribar
2019 Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Ranks
*denotes new addition
The Bengals hold the first pick and expected to lock in Joe Burrow, who may be the best first down passer we’ve seen enter the league. Unable to work a trade for Andy Dalton during the first wave of free agency, Dalton remains under contract for the 2020 season at a $17M cap hit, but has zero money attached to that number. Backup Ryan Finley was selected in the fourth-round (104th overall) a year ago, completing just 47.1% of his passes in three starts as a rookie.
Joe Mixon has now notched at least 1,400 yards and eight scores in each of the past two seasons while his touches have gone from 208>280>313 to start his career. He’s in the final season of his rookie contract and early whispers are that he intends to hold out without a new contract prior to the season.
Behind him, Giovani Bernard, who turns 29-years-old in November, signed a two-year extension through the 2021 season. Rounding out the current roster, the Bengals have a pair of second-year backs they selected in the sixth round last year in Trayveon Williams (182nd overall) and Rodney Anderson (211th). Anderson failed to log a snap as a rookie while Williams played just seven snaps.
Tyler Boyd has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons and is under contract through the 2023 season. He’s the only wideout the Bengals are tied into long-term. The Bengals have placed the franchise tag on A.J. Green, who will turn 32-years-old this July. Green has 29 games since the 2015 season.
John Ross, Alex Erickson and Auden Tate all are in the final seasons of their contracts with Tate being a restricted free agent when 2020 comes to an end. The Bengals’ depth chart is solid for the 2020 campaign, but the team should explore planning ahead for 2021 and beyond.
The Bengals have C.J. Uzomah signed through the 2021 season and have last year’s second-round pick (52nd overall) Drew Sample at the top of their depth chart. Uzomah ran a pass route on just 39.6% of his snaps in 2019 with Sample running a pass route on just 32.4%. The team may not be looking for a tight end to contribute significantly in the passing game, but neither player at the top of their depth chart profiles as a strong asset in the passing game.
LT: Jonah Williams/Fred Johnson
LG: Michael Jordan/Billy Price
C: Trey Hopkins
RG: Xavier Su’a-Filo*/O’Shea Dugas
RT: Bobby Hart/Isaiah Prince*
This unit was rough in 2019, ranking 31st in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate and 21st in our pass pro efficiency ranks. The left side has two 2019 rookies, with Jonah Williams (the 11th pick a year ago) returning after spending all of 2019 on injured reserve with a torn labrum. Fourth-round pick Michael Jordan (136th overall) started nine games as a rookie, ranking as the 78th best guard per Pro Football Focus out of 82 qualifiers.
Undrafted rookie Fred Johnson chipped in with 146 snaps played last year and could compete at the right guard spot. The rest of the line is filled with subpar starters in Trey Hopkins and Bobby Hart while Xavier Su’a-Filo was added to the roster this offseason, but has started just 12 games over the past two seasons with the Cowboys. Nobody from center to right tackle should be considered someone to count on long-term.
Cincinnati Bengals Defense
by Dan Pizzuta
2019 Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Ranks
interior defensive line
The Bengals went on a rare free agent shopping spree this season and the biggest get was D.J. Reader. Reader has been a force on the Houston defensive interior and will now slot next to Geno Atkins to give the Bengals an impressive dup up the middle. Reader was seventh among defensive tackles in pressure rate last season. Even the depth for the Bengals is good on the interior. 2019 fourth-round pick Renell Wren could impress with a bigger role in 2020.
The Bengals find themselves with a good-not-great group of edge rushers. All of Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard, and Carl Lawson were in the top-50 of edge rushers by pressure rate per SIS but as a team, the Bengals ranked 27th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate. With Dunlap turning 31 years old and just two years left on his deal (and little guaranteed money in 2021), the Bengals could be in the market for another edge rusher to add to the still-young Hubbard-Lawson duo.
Josh Bynes wasn’t the biggest splash of the Bengals’ free agent signings but he might be the sneakiest add. Bynes is a good coverage linebacker, which is something the Bengals sorely needed. Cincinnati ranked 28th against tight ends and 31st against running backs by DVOA last season. Germaine Pratt had as a third-round rookie but with some responsibilities lessened, he could see some improvement. The Bengals used base on 29% of their plays last season, which ranked 14th most per SIS, but right now they don’t really have a third linebacker to do that. Though they also played 20% of Dime+ personnel with just one linebacker on the field.
Cincinnati spent a lot of money on Trae Waynes but might have gotten the better Minnesota corner on a cheap one-year deal with Mackensie Alexander. Meanwhile, William Jackson remains one of the most underrated defensive backs in the league but is on the final year of his rookie deal. That starting trio is more than passable and gives the Bengals a better group than they’ve had in some time, but Waynes is currently the only one signed past 2020.
Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams had their ups and downs last season and the Bengals really struggled with deep coverage — 32nd in DVOA on deep passes. Unfortunately, that’s not where free agent addition Von Bell excels, either. Bates was much better as a deep safety in 2018 and the Bengals could hope he gets back to that level of play. But there are a few potential deep safeties in the mid-rounds of this draft the Bengals could target should they want more depth.