Bengals Mock Draft: 5 first-round targets for Cincinnati

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Ahmad Gardner (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

If the 2021 season ended today, the Cincinnati Bengals would be drafting near the end of the first round considering they have the top seed in the AFC. That makes talking anything about the draft difficult, as we really don’t know where this team will be picking.

In the past few years, the Bengals have held a top-five pick but even if they seriously stumble down the stretch, that won’t be the case this year.

I decided to discuss five potential first-round targets for the Bengals and included guys who could go all over the first-round board.

As for the positions Cincinnati could look to address, cornerback, offensive line, tight end, and maybe even safety considering the situation with Jessie Bates. The Bengals might slap the franchise tag on Bates following this season, keeping him in the Queen City next year, but what happens after that?

Let’s take a look at five way-too-early first-round targets for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ahmad Gardner, CB (Cincinnati)

This would be awesome but the Bengals would have to be picking in the top-15 to bring the local Ahmad Gardner to Cincinnati’s pro football team. The Bearcat is in his third year and has helped lead the squad to the No. 2 ranking in the country.

As of this writing, Gardner has yet to allow a single touchdown this season, and even more impressive, he’s yet to surrender a touchdown in his entire collegiate career. That’s not going to remain the case when he gets to the pros but still — The dude is talented.

The Bengals are likely going to cut ties with the disappointing Trae Waynes following this season and that’ll open things up for the team to add a cornerback. Gardner would fit in perfectly with Lou Anarumo’s defensive scheme and he’s a local guy, so fans here already love him.