After being taken first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow was having an impressive start to his NFL career. Through nine games, Burrow accumulated 2,485 yards and 12 touchdowns on a Cincinnati Bengals roster that just wasn't good. Unfortunately, the lack of a great offensive line saw Burrow take 32 sacks. One final hit led to a torn ACL and MCL, ending his season.
Going into the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals are going to need to add some more talent around Burrow to prevent a repeat of last year. Here are three players who could be steals for them outside of the first round.
3. Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
With how many impressive offensive line prospects are projected to be drafted in the first round, there's a chance that Alex Leatherwood falls to the Bengals at the top of Round 2. The 6-foot-6 Alabama product won the Outland Trophy for being the top interior lineman in the country. Leatherwood allowed just 3.0 sacks in 867 snaps in 2020. Having him on the Bengals' O-Line would ensure some protection for Burrow. He's also versatile enough to play both tackle and guard, which should be a big help for a Bengals' line that could use a boost pretty much everywhere.
2. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
With Drew Sample as the top tight end on the Bengals' depth chart and C. J. Uzomah coming off of an Achilles injury, Cincinnati needs some insurance at the position. Pat Freiermuth is projected to be a second or third-round pick depending on how the draft goes. A shoulder injury limited him to four games in 2020, but Freiermuth still had 1,185 yards and 16 touchdowns on 92 receptions in his college career. Should the Bengals draft him and he bounces back from his injury, Freiermuth could be a reliable option for Burrow for years to come.
1. Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina
Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are the Bengals' top two wide receivers entering the 2021 NFL season. While they're perfectly capable wideouts, they're really all the team has at the position unless Auden Tate makes a leap. Drafting Dazz Newsome could be a great opportunity to give Burrow another weapon. He's the perfect option for a slot receiver and recorded 20 total touchdowns and over 2,400 yards in four years at North Carolina. Newsome could be a really compelling target for Cincinnati on day three.
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