Bengals bolster pass protection in early 4-round mock draft
By Riley Thomas
Round 2: Pick 61 – Darian Kinnard, OT (Kentucky)
In the second round, the Bengals go with a right tackle in Darian Kinnard. The current right tackle, Riley Reiff, has been a major improvement but has been inconsistent. With Reiff on a one-year contract and aging, grabbing a right tackle early in the 2022 NFL Draft would be a good idea.
Kinnard has the ability to immediately start in the NFL and could turn into an absolute monster on the pro level. He has anchored Kentucky’s right tackle spot for several years now.
It was kind of a surprise that he did not enter the 2021 NFL Draft after such a great 2020 season, he was likely betting on a chance to go in the first round. Kinnard does have some first-round talent, depending on how his season finishes and his combine goes, he will go in the first or second round.
Kinnard is a mountain of a man at 6’5″, 345 pounds. He has the versatility going forward to play either guard or tackle, which is always a strong suit in the league. His best suit is his run blocking as he simply throws people, proven by his 47 knockdown blocks in 2020.
Kinnard’s knack for run blocking is further proven by his 2019 PFF run-block grade of 89.1 and his 2020 PFF run-block grade of 91.9. He is as good as it gets in terms of run blocking for tackles coming out of college. That would certainly help free space for the talented Joe Mixon, especially when left tackle Jonah Williams’ run-blocking has been criticized at times.
The length is there for Kinnard too which allows him to stay at tackle in the NFL. Per The Draft Network, he can struggle with speed rushers at times,
"There have been some instances of speed off the edge overtaking him in pass protection as well, so ensuring he’s taking optimal angles on the edge will be essential to his consistency in protection."
The biggest con of the right tackle is his technique at times, especially in pass blocking. If Frank Pollack, Cincy’s Offensive Line Coach, got his hands on Kinnard, he should turn into a good starting tackle.