Either the Bengals are crafting a layered smokescreen operation, or they are ready to eschew their top need to load up at wide receiver. Oregon tackle Penei Sewell is expected to be on the board when the Bengals go on the clock at No. 5, but Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic notes “all signs” point to the team picking LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase (subscription required). This marks another Chase-to-Cincinnati connection. Such a move would reunite Chase and Joe Burrow and give the Bengals a top-flight trio of Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. This would come at the expense of a key O-line pick, though the Bengals did sign Riley Reiff to join Jonah Williams at tackle. And director of player personnel Duke Tobin pointed to this draft’s depth on the O-line, believing the team can acquire a starter on Day 2. Despite Burrow suffering a major knee injury behind a leaky line last season, he is believed to have made an effort to sell Bengal brass on Chase. The 2020 opt-out is viewed as this draft’s top wide receiver.
Here is the latest news coming out of the draft:
- The Lions have made noise as a team interested in trading down, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Many around the league believe the Bengals and Dolphins will stay at their Nos. 5 and 6 positions, though the Dolphins have since surfaced as a team considering another move down the board. Should Cincy and Miami stay at their respective spots, Detroit would emerge as a team willing to auction off its pick to a quarterback-seeking team. One or two QBs figure to be on the board when the Lions go on the clock at No. 7, and while new GM Brad Holmes has said he studied this year’s QBs, Jared Goff has received internal support. And the Lions are in a full-on rebuild; trading down could net them a third 2022 first-round pick.
- The Patriots sent staffers to Justin Fields and Trey Lance‘s second pro days. Although the Pats re-signed Cam Newton and have not chosen a first-round quarterback since Drew Bledsoe 28 years ago — well before Bill Belichick‘s HC tenure — Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com writes the team would like to take one in this year’s first round. Belichick generally runs a tight ship ahead of drafts, with advance intel difficult to come by, but a recent report also indicated the Pats are on the QB radar — potentially as a trade-up team.
- Although a previous report had Washington reps attending Lance’s second pro day, Breer notes Ron Rivera‘s team was not in Fargo, N.D., for the Division I-FCS prospect’s second showcase. The 49ers, Falcons, Broncos and Patriots were there. The 49ers were the only team to send its head coach or GM; both Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch were there. Lack of attendance aside, Washington is believed to be high on Lance. The team might not be interested in climbing too high for him, but if Lance falls into the bottom half of the top 10, Washington may pounce.