In the last college football game of the 2020 season, Ohio-based fans plenty of reasons to watch. Certainly, Alabama and Ohio State are already an exciting pairing of teams in the headline-grabbing game. However, there are a few draft targets for the Cincinnati Bengals in this game, adding an extra level of excitement for those fans.
In the National Championship, There Will Be a Few Exciting Cincinnati Bengals Draft Targets
While the Cincinnati Bengals aren’t in the playoffs, they’re dreaming of a chance to make that splash in 2021. However, a player who could help the team cross that threshold could cap their own playoff run tomorrow. Ohio State and Alabama face off in tomorrow’s College Football Championship with a slew of top NFL prospects. Both have players on their roster that should be draft targets for the Cincinnati Bengals. With Zac Taylor returning in 2021, there are some obvious needs to fit his scheme and regime.
Obviously, the Bengals need to target offensive line help this offseason. It seems like the team’s top priority this spring and summer. Keeping Joe Burrow upright in 2021 is their clearest path to success. Both of these teams have players who seem like obvious fits in that area at the professional level. The Bengals already have a few linemen from each team on their roster. Jonah Williams played tackle at Alabama and was Cincinnati’s first-round pick in 2019. Buckeyes’ blockers Billy Price and Michael Jordan went in the first and third rounds, respectively.
No matter What, There Needs to Be A Mixed Variety of Cincinnati Bengals Draft Targets
Still, this is a league dominated by skill position players, and the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide have some of the very best. Both schools produce fantastic products in the NFL in that area. Consider Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin, and Ezekiel Elliot from Ohio State. Now, consider Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and Marlon Humphrey from Alabama. Over and over again, the schools produce superstar talent. The Bengals need more of that on their roster, giving them plenty to watch in this match-up.
Regardless, this is an interesting scouting opportunity in a variety of ways. In the biggest game of the college season, watching which players rise and fall presents interesting tape for draft pundits. Alabama and Ohio State also have some of the finest talents in the county, so it’ll give a good preview of premier players in the years ahead.
DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama Crimson Tide
There’s not much left to say about the prolific Alabama pass-catcher. DeVonta Smith is one of the best wide receivers in college football history, period. He didn’t need the Heisman Trophy to prove that, but he won it anyway. He’ll be matched up with Ohio State’s All-American corner Shaun Wade, but it might not even matter.
All season long, Smith victimized every defense in his way, getting not just open, but wide open on a majority of his 105 catches. He owns a line of 1,641 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 15.6 yards per catch heading into the championship. If the Bengals lean wide receiver in the first, pairing Burrow and Smith as back-to-back Heisman recipients present plentiful excitement.
Wyatt Davis, Guard, Ohio State Buckeyes
As mentioned above, the Cincinnati Bengals need to target pieces on the offensive line in the draft and free agency. Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis is one of the best collegiate guards, potentially the best of the 2021 draft class. This season, he earned his second straight All-American honors, finished as a unanimous first-teamer for the Buckeyes.
He’s also been a huge reason for the team’s resurgent running game and break out of Trey Sermon. Certainly, the Bengals need a bull-dozing guard like Davis to move the line for Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. Interior linemen typically don’t fall in the earliest portions of the drafts and many mock drafts have Davis falling out of the first round. If Davis falls to the Bengals early in the second round, he could be an incredible steal.
Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama Crimson Tide
Making impact plays as a run-stopping force for the Crimson Tide defense, Christian Barmore makes for an interesting study for Bengals fans. He’s doesn’t have amazing size, but his skills are quite impressive. With an interesting mix of pass rush moves, he’s proven the ability to keep opposing linemen guessing.
Still, at 6-foot-5, 311 pounds, Barmore proves the ability to get home. In 2020, he has seven sacks, and seven-and-a-half tackles for loss. It’ll be important to watch if he can add more splash plays against Davis, guard Harry Miller, and center Josh Myers in the title game. While he could return to Alabama for another season, he’s an interesting target for the Bengals.
Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama Crimson Tide
Ranking as one of the finest defensive backs in his class, Patrick Surtain II could be the Bengals’ next first-round corner. In the last 15 years, they’ve picked five corners with their first-round selection. While the team could fill that gap in free agency, Surtain could prove to be a wise pick if he plays lights-out in the title game.
Ohio State has a strong group of NFL prospect receivers and an excellent quarterback in Fields. Surtain is certain to have a major role in slowing down that group, which is a key for a potential Tide win. If Surtain plays shutdown football against that group, he’ll make an even bigger jump up the draft board. However, he’s an even more interesting draft target if the Cincinnati Bengals trade back in round one.
Haskell Garrett, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State Buckeyes
Unlike most of the other players on this list, the multi-year grind has presented Haskell Garrett a chance to rise for an awesome senior season. In his first season as a starter, he became an All-American. Garrett received the award and played in every game this season despite being shot in the face this offseason while attempting to break up a domestic dispute on Ohio State’s campus.
He also contributed just two sacks and had a key interception in seven games so far, but he’s been a monster in the run stop. He also absorbs blocks, creating room for his teammates to hit the quarterback. Garrett will likely still be on the board in rounds three and four but is an intriguing fit. With Geno Atkins likely to depart, Garrett is an interesting mid-round draft target for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State Buckeyes
Among Cincinnati Bengals draft targets, Chris Olave is the most likely to have fans thinking of the good old days. With his toe-tapping catches and impressive hands as an outside receiver, Olave reminds watchers of a Cincinnati franchise favorite. While Olave is a more polished college player, he makes plays that often times remind of Chad Johnson. Contributing 660 yards, seven touchdowns, and 15.7 yards per catch in only six games this season, Olave is truly one of the nation’s finest pass catchers. For Cincinnati, he presents an option with a complimentary set of skills to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
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