ESPN analyst’s favorite prospect fit for the Cincinnati Bengals is one of the NFL Draft’s best players

The chances of selecting a blue chip prospect with the 18th overall pick in the NFL Draft are slim, but never zero. The Cincinnati Bengals may experience this in a couple weeks.

Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cincinnati’s first round pick is expected to be used on a trench player, whether it’s the best offensive lineman, or best defensive tackle on the board.

Brock Bowers could be one of the few players to crash those plans.

Bowers, ranked 10th on the latest Consensus Big Board, is the top tight end in this class and is right up there with the best offensive players of any position. He’s not a traditional tight end that lines up attached to the offensive line too often because of how dangerous he is as a receiver split out in the slot.

The Bengals have a clear need at slot receiver after Tyler Boyd’s contract expired, and while Mike Gesicki signed a one-year deal to help replace him in the slot, Bowers is a younger and better player that can be a part of the offense’s long-term plans.

All of this makes Bowers a clear fit in Cincinnati, as explained by ESPN’s Matt Bowen:

“Bowers has the route-running ability to beat linebackers in man coverage and the speed to stretch defenses down the seams. A rugged mover after the catch, he can work the middle of the field for quarterback Joe Burrow, turning underneath throws into explosive gains. He had 10 career 100-yard receiving games at Georgia, which were tied for the most by any FBS tight end over the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Bengals added veteran tight end Mike Gesicki on a one-year contact in free agency, but Bowers has the traits to develop into a legitimate matchup threat, and he’s not afraid to block in the run game.” – ESPN’s Matt Bowen

Explosive plays stand out with Bowers’ game. He can stretch the field vertically against most coverages, but the ball doesn’t have to get to him down the field for big plays to occur. He can take shorter passes and turn them into first downs and more by forcing missed tackles and outrunning angles. Such an ability is rare for a player who normally plays around 235-240 pounds.

The Bengals have needed another skill player with this skillset to fit alongside Ja’Marr Chase for the past two seasons. Opposing defenses have made it their mission to contain Chase from beating them vertically, and the Bengals’ offense hasn’t generated enough explosive plays underneath deep coverages.

Bowers can help fix that. A to Z Sports’ Destin Adams also agrees as well.

Where Bowers ends up landing in the NFL Draft will be one of the more interesting storylines. He’s projected to go as high as the top 10, and has been mocked several times to Cincinnati’s 18th pick. If he does fall that far, the Bengals will be hard-pressed not to turn a card in with his name on it.

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