Where would the Bengals go in this year’s draft after winning the AFC championship? Traditionally, the draft has yielded fine results for the franchise. In this century, the Bengals’ front office/scouts have drafted a number players who either made the Pro Bowl for them or other teams. In 2001 alone, they drafted T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Justin Smith and Chad Johnson. In 2003, they drafted Carson Palmer.
In 2006, the team drafted two eventual Pro Bowlers in Johnathan Joseph (1st Round, 24th overall) and Andrew Whitworth (2nd Round, 55th overall). Their fourth round pick, Domata Peko, played until he was 36 years old and all three players played at least until that age, with Whitworth recently retiring as a Super Bowl champion at the age of 40.
|Player||School||DN Big Board|
|1 (31)||Daxton Hill||S-Nickel/Michigan||11/1st Round||Hill, basically a starting nickel at Michigan on base downs, could get an opportunity to fulfill a variety of sub-package roles early in Cincinnati. Could they even experiment with him as a corner?|
Acquired from Tampa Bay via the Bills
|Cam Taylor-Britt||CB/Nebraska||53/2nd Round||Taylor-Britt is yet another fast, instinctive corner with safety experience. DC Lou Anarumo is cooking up different coverage/pressure concepts in his living room as we speak.|
|3 (95)||Zachary Carter||DE-DT/Florida||145/3rd Round||Carter's ability to slide up-and-down the defensive line for the Gators provided a blueprint for the Bengals. They could use him as a sub-package three-technique on third downs.|
|4 (136)||Cordell Volson||OT/North Dakota State||417/5th Round||Volson has the size, experience on the edges to become a factor as another swing offensive lineman for the Bengals, who have made it a priority to increase its interior offensive line depth in this year's draft. |
|5 (166) |
Acquired from Arizona via Philadelphia through Houston via Chicago
|Tycen Anderson||S-Nickel/Toledo||163/3rd Round||Anderson is yet another defensive back whose overall psyche never seemed to change when challenged inside. He played safety, corner and nickel for the Rockets and handled all of the roles adequately. He is the third Bengals defensive back with 4.3 speed (4.36). |
|7 (252)||Jeffrey Gunter||DE-OLB/Coastal Carolina||178/4th Round||At the beginning of the year, many expected Gunter to be a second-or-third-round draft pick, but he ends up potentially being a steal in the seventh round. He took a step back as a senior, but did show inside rush potential in the postseason.|
|2022 UDFA signings|
|147||Devin Cochran||OT||Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt||5.744||3rd Round||Blessed with an 86-inch wingspan, could Cochran forge his way onto the Bengals roster this summer? If so, he’ll have to beat talented backup OTs D’Ante Smith (one start) or Isaiah Prince (four starts).|
|387||Shermari Jones||RB||Coastal Carolina||5.09||5th Round||At 215 pounds, there is a measure of upside running some of the two-back outside search or stretch concepts many teams employ. With the measure of acceleration he possesses in a 20-to-30-yard stretch, it is not out of the question that he could return kicks.|
|460||Jaivon Heiligh||WR||Coastal Carolina||4.83||5th Round||His route discipline and body control are aided by 32” arms. The first-team All-Sun Belt WR finished his career with 22 TDs.|
|462||Clarence Hicks||LB||UTSA||4.82||5th Round||Hicks often rushed off the edge and defeated tackles as a pass rusher one snap before walking out over the slot on the next play. Hicks was one of the most productive defenders in C-USA football.|
|474||Jack Sorenson||WR||Miami (Ohio)||4.78||5th Round||The strength is not where it needs to be, hence the continued durability issues. When he’s been healthy, Sorenson was one of the most dangerous receivers in the MAC. He finished with over 1,400 yards receiving this past season.|
|499||Carson Wells||OLB||Colorado||4.68||6th Round||Wells has all of the physical tools to perhaps work himself into a role as a stand-up Rush OLB. In 2021, he began to speed up the process as a rusher. Wells finished with 39 career tackles for losses.|
|532||Ben Brown||OC-OG||Ole Miss||4.567||6th Round||Snaps were a problem at center in 2020 before going down to injury. He has the size and overall quickness to perhaps find an interior role.|
|590||Kendric Pryor||WR||Wisconsin||4.28||6th Round||Pryor didn’t get a lot of opportunities in a run-based offense, but finished his career with 99 receptions. He also averaged over 10 yards per carry on 40 rushes.|
|612||Tariqious Tisdale||DE-DT||Ole Miss||4.175||7th Round||Tisdale runs in the 4.5-range at 290 pounds and began to flash in 2020. He never took the next step in 2021, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel.|
|677||Stewart Reese||OG-OT||Florida, Mississippi State||3.87||7th Round||Reese, a multi-year starter at two different schools, is a people mover who needs to maintain his weight.|
|685||Brendan Radley-Hiles||S||Washington, Oklahoma||3.721||7th Round||Radley-Hiles exhibits a short memory and often came back from mistakes as a nickel back at two different stops. Is the size going to translate?|
|Delonte Hood||CB||Peru St, Toledo, Glenville State||N/A||N/A||Hood posted eight interceptions at Glenville State in 2019. He ran in the 4.4-range during the postseason and registered eight passes defensed this past season.|
|Jordan Wilson||TE||FSU, UCLA||N/A||N/A||After flashing early in his career, Wilson resurfaced at FSU. He has size, but can he win as a route runner?|
|Justin Rigg||TE||Kentucky||N/A||N/A||One of the best blocking TEs in the draft, Rigg finished with 50 receptions in his career. He could potentially surprise and make the team. He finished with four TDs in 2021.|
|Cal Adomitis||LS||Pittsburgh||N/A||N/A||He is satisfactory in coverage and generally capable of getting players on the ground if needed. It’s all about the details for Adomitis, who is often seen replicating his short-snapping motion before putting his hands on the ball prior to field goals. He handled even fronts with late twists well dating back to 2019.|
|Desmond Noel||OG||FAU||N/A||N/A||Has started at the LG spot. 31 reps at 225 pounds on his Pro Day. He will play through pain. Just 290 pounds. Gets caught leaning at the point of attack in the run game (Marshall '20).
It wasn’t until the next decade began that the team got back on a roll, with three of its first five selections in 2010 becoming eventual Pro Bowlers. That group included tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Carlos Dunlap. But they made up for the two-year drought by also drafting Geno Atkins in the fourth round (120th overall). Atkins became an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.
And in 2011?
That draft yielded seven-time Pro Bowler A.J. Green and three-time Pro Bowler Any Dalton. Both players recently signed one-year deals at the ages of 33 and 34, respectively.
In 2012, Bengals first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick never made a Pro Bowl, but played through the age of 32. In fact, no players from this draft class ever made a Pro Bowl, but at least five players made it to the age of 30 years old in the NFL.
There have no doubt been misses along the way as well. The next four drafts (2013-2016) yielded just one Pro Bowler, Tyler Eifert (2013), and many of the team’s draft picks flamed out relatively quickly. However, in that same span, the team drafted a number of solid NFL starters that have found success either in Cincinnati or otherwise. Those names include, but are not limited to: Giovani Bernard (2nd Round, 37th overall, 2013), Rex Burkhead (6th Round, 190th overall, 2013), C.J. Uzomah (5th Round, 157th overall, 2015), William Jackson III (1st Round, 24th overall, 2016) and Tyler Boyd (2nd Round, 55th overall, 2016). A seventh-round pick from the 2016 draft class, Clayton Fejedelem, has carved out a respectable career.
In 2017, the team found a building block in Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon (2nd Round, 48th overall). Carl Lawson secured a payday with the New York Jets last offseason and Pro Bowl kicker Jake Elliott (5th Round, 153rd overall) has won a Super Bowl with the Eagles.
The jury is still out on the most recent drafts, but the selections of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Evan McPherson all significantly contributed to the team’s Super Bowl appearance this past season.
Thus, the likelihood of this year’s draft class producing at least two quality starters remains possible. The Bengals added plenty of speed in the secondary, drafting three defensive backs who ran in the sub-4.4-range. Can Daxton Hill beat out incumbent nickel back Mike Hilton for the starting job? If not, then what about Jessie Bates III back deep along with either Hill or fifth-round choice Tycen Anderson. Depth was added along the offensive line the entire offseason and didn’t stop in the draft. NDSU’s Cordell Volson could realistically remain outside, but may very well provide depth on the interior. Zachary Carter put up nine sacks in 2021, but he’s been productive over a two-year period. This team understood that other than on the offensive line, there weren’t many needs on that side of the ball.