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The Cincinnati Bengals are obvious trade targets in the 2021 NFL draft, though most mock drafts have shied away from the idea.
Over at The Draft Network, Trevor Sikkema has the Bengals trading down out of the fifth pick, striking a deam deal with Carolina and taking Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater:
“Some will tell you Slater is a guard due to the shorter arm length. I think he’ll be a good starter no matter where you put him. I think he can play right away and succeed at right tackle opposite Jonah Williams—and if the right draft opportunity comes where they can form an even better line by drafting a pure offensive tackle and kick Slater inside, even better. Versatility does not always present a win-win, but I certainly think it does with Slater.”
Not only is Slater a great prospect who can play tackle, the Bengals pick up a second-round pick this year and a 2022 second-round pick via the trade.
It is, in short, almost the perfect scenario for the Bengals. They move back, grab a starter-caliber tackle and add an additional top-50 prospect this year and the next.
For context, Ja’Marr Chase and Penei Sewell were still on the board when the Bengals make the trade in this mock. But it’s a worthy risk to take, as Slater projects so well and a deep wideout class could see the Bengals still emerge with a borderline first-round receiver with one of those two second-round picks, just like they did last year with Tee Higgins.
It’s hard to call any mock projection an A+, but this one flirts with the status.