After going 2-14, the Cincinnati Bengals must look toward the 2020 NFL Draft to move on from Andy Dalton and usher in a new era.
There was a time when the Cincinnati Bengals were the laughingstock of the NFL. They couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot and would finish at the top of the NFL Draft order every year — well, they’re back. No, they aren’t quite a laughingstock but they only managed just two victories in head coach Zac Taylor’s rookie season.
That 2-14 has now afforded them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and four selections total inside the top 100 picks. That’s the type of capital you can lay a foundation with.
Of course, their atrocious season is a testament to the lack of talent on their roster. But all isn’t bad. Joe Mixon is building block, a running back that the team can lean on. He crossed the 1,000 yards mark for the second time in his three-year career. He’s an underrated talent who also proved he’s a reliable receiving option, catching 32 passes and three touchdowns.
At wide receiver, A.J. Green could leave as an unrestricted free agent but they have some solid young options. John Ross stepped up in a big way when healthy in 2019, averaging 18 yards per catch. The 6-5, 228-pound Auden Tate showed promise. Tyler Boyd dominated once again as well, catching 90 passes and crossing 1,000 yards.
Defensively they have some solid and some seasoned pieces. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are ageless. Defensive end Sam Hubbard improved in his second season with 9.5 sacks, 76 tackles and 10 quarterback hits. On the back end, a pair of second-year players, safety Jessie Bates and cornerback Darius Phillips, combined for seven interceptions.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of holes the Bengals must fill. Whether it’s owner and de facto general manager Mike Brown, Taylor or someone else calling the shots, they have an opportunity to grab some prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft who can help them return to relevancy. We go through the first three rounds to find three who can help turn things around in Cincinnati.