Bengals linked to safety in first round of 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

It’s never too early to look ahead to the next year’s draft and Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network has his latest mock draft out for the 2022 NFL Draft. In his mock draft, he has the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Kyle Hamilton, a safety out of Notre Dame with the fifth overall pick.

It’s a bummer seeing the Bengals listed in the No. 5 slot in Hodgkinson’s draft but with how tough their division is, it’s not a huge surprise. Here was his analysis for why he had the Bengals going with Hamilton:

"The Notre Dame safety has an insane athletic profile. His ability to play all over the field is asinine. The Bengals would be mad to let one of the best players in the 2022 NFL Draft slip through their fingers. Whether Jessie Bates III stays or not, Hamilton will immediately upgrade the Cincinnati secondary."

There’s a section that I didn’t include where Hodgkinson mentions how it’d be crazy for the Bengals to pass on an offensive lineman in the first round again but I’ll play devil’s advocate there, as there might not be a worthy tackle or interior lineman to take with the first-round pick.

The Bengals have been linked to Kyle Hamilton in a mock draft.

Selecting a safety with the fifth overall pick would be highly criticized and rightfully so. Even if Jessie Bates were to leave over the offseason, the Bengals could find a decent safety in the second round — just like they did with Bates in 2018.

Going back to Hamilton though, he’s been impressive for the Fighting Irish. As a freshman in 2019, Hamilton totaled four interceptions and returned one of those for a touchdown. In 2020, he totaled 51 tackles and six defended passes. He’s certainly a talented athlete and would add a terrific playmaker in the Bengals’ secondary, especially if Bates remained with the team.

Fortunately, we’re still a long way from the 2022 NFL Draft and that means Hamilton actually being the Bengals’ first-round pick isn’t all that likely. If the Bengals finish the season and end up with the No. 5 overall pick, they’ll be in a rough spot moving forward and that’d make it even unlikelier that a safety would be their draft choice.

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If Hamilton were the guy to join the Bengals, he could potentially be the next Jessie Bates, so that’s a positive way of looking at it.