3. Cincinnati Bengals
Finding the third team was by far the toughest to figure out. As you all saw at the beginning, there were a few honorable mentions. But, based on what happened in the 2017 NFL Draft with the Cincinnati Bengals, they are the final team to grace this list.
Back in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bengals stayed put at the ninth overall selection and took wide receiver John Ross. Ross broke the 40-yard dash time at the scouting combine, clocking in at 4.22 seconds. He was known for his explosive ability at Washington.
Of course, the Bengals still believed in Andy Dalton as their signal-caller at that point, but after six seasons, they could have taken Patrick Mahomes there at nine to be waiting in the wings to escape mediocrity. This would’ve likely included firing Marvin Lewis and moving on, which was the smart move. Not to mention, they’d still have Joe Mixon in the scenario.
Looking at the ripple effect of this, the Bengals could’ve turned their focus to weapons and addressing the offensive line more in recent drafts. In the 2020 draft, Cincinnati could have selected one of the big four at tackle to secure a bookend duo with Jonah Williams.
Yes, the team (and scheme) might not be as good as Andy Reid and the Chiefs, and the Bengals did select Joe Burrow in 2020. However, Burrow, as good as his season was, is no guarantee in the NFL and Patrick Mahomes would have elevated a struggling team to, at the very least, the postseason in the last couple of seasons.