By Conrad Clowers
The coronavirus (aka COVID-19) took everybody by storm. Everyone in every walk of life is in survival mode and doing everything they can to stay healthy. There are no guarantees there will be an NFL season this coming season. If there is, the possibility of alterations are very possible. Coming off of one of the most forgettable seasons in their history in 2019, the Bengals made additions and subtractions they hope will put them back in the sights of NFL respectability.
The 2020 NFL draft came and passed. It was one event that was not railroaded by COVID. Major alterations in how the draft was conducted did take place. When all was said and done, the worst kept secret in history was officially revealed. The Bengals selected Joe Burrow from LSU as their top pic. Burrow came off the most productive season for an NCAA QB in history. He capped it off with a National Championship. While the team decided to franchise tag wide receiver A.J Green, this off-season preparation was made for his possible replacement. Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins was selected in the second round.
Of the seven rounds in the draft, Cincinnati selected four of the seven picks for defense, a major weakness for the past two seasons. Cincinnati selected linebacker Logan Wilson from Wyoming as its third-round pick. Linebacker Akeem Davis from Appalachian State, Khalid Kareem from Notre Dame and Markus Bailey from Purdue were other selections Cincinnati took a chance on.
The lone offensive lineman selected for Cincy was offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji from Kansas. Whether the draft class ends up being hall of fame worthy, laughable or simply serviceable only time will tell. The draft class along with defensive free agent signings of defensive tackle D.J. Reader, along with defensive backs Trae Waynes and Vonn Bell seem to indicate the Bengals may be attempting to make a push at something special.
Bengal coach Zac Taylor is entering his second year as head coach of the Bengals. The Bengals’ second-year coach did have a slight advantage over many NFL coaches in the draft, as Taylor’s staff coached in the college Senior Bowl and had the chance to evaluate many college seniors up close and personal. Taylor brought back many of the coaches he came in with last season.
Based upon wins and losses from the 2019 season, Cincinnati has the sixth-easiest schedule in the NFL in 2020. Home games will be played against division rivals Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore along with Dallas, Jacksonville, LA Chargers, New York Giants and Tennessee. Away games will be played against division rivals along with Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is proceeding as if there will be no breaks in the season. Camps may be slated to start at the end of July, but, as has everything else, the pandemic will determine if that happens or not.