The Bengals find themselves in an enviable position. Not only could they potentially trade back for a team looking to come up for Trey Lance, but they have their choice of non-QB prospects and any of three prospects (Penei Sewell, Ja'Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts) would make sense here. Fortunately for the Bengals, the talent in this year's offensive tackle and wide receiver classes means that they could address the other position at No. 38 with a Round 1-caliber prospect.
The Bengals have begun the process of upgrading their offensive line by signing Riley Reiff, but it's only a one-year deal for the 32-year-old tackle and that shouldn't preclude them from selecting an elite prospect like Sewell here. While Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, the 2019 first-team AP All-American was dominant in his true-sophomore campaign and won't turn 21 until October.
He is coming a year too late to save Joe Burrow from the gut-wrenching knee injury that ruined his impressive rookie season, but Bengals fans (and Burrow) can take solace that Sewell is a generational talent well worth a top-five selection.
Joe Burrow excelled at LSU because of incredible talent at skill positions but also because he had forever and a day to throw the ball. This year's class is incredibly deep at receiver, but you're not finding a blindside protector of anywhere close to Sewell's value later on. Getting Riley Reiff in free agency on a one-year deal absolutely should not preclude Cincinnati from continuing to protect Burrow.
The Bengals might prefer Sewell, who would help fix the blocking in front of second-year QB Joe Burrow, but if he's gone they can't pass up Pitts, one of the most talented and unique tight ends to enter the NFL in years.
If I were making the pick, the chance to upgrade the offensive line with Oregon's Penei Sewell would be the choice. But reuniting Chase with Joe Burrow is understandably enticing for Duke Tobin and Cincinnati's decision-makers. Which direction to go is a great problem for the Bengals to have at No. 5.
There's some buzz around the league that the Bengals feel they've done enough to upgrade their offensive line to bypass that spot (and Penei Sewell) at No. 5. That's … interesting.
Pitts has the higher ceiling as a prospect. He's an alien, basically. So Joe Burrow getting another premier weapon feels like a good thing. As long as the Bengals double back (at 38 or 69) and grab more OL beef.
This was the toughest call for me. It came down to Sewell and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who knows Joe Burrow well from their time together at LSU and would be an excellent fit next to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Ultimately, the Bengals' offensive line was such a disaster that I don't think they can pass on Sewell, who should start immediately at one of the tackle spots opposite Jonah Williams. The good thing for Cincinnati is that tackle and wideout are two of the deepest positions in this class, and it should be able to find a starter at those positions at the top of Round 2.
The Bengals can't go wrong if things play out this way. Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater and Kyle Pitts all would be excellent selections for Cincinnati. But Chase racked up 84 catches, 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in a season with Joe Burrow at LSU. Let them thrive together for years to come in Cincy.