Bengals 7-Round Mock Draft: Cincinnati gets a steal in 1st round

Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Hampton – Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 4: Pick 136 – A.J. Hampton, CB (Northwestern)

CB. Wildcats . A.J. Hampton. 136. player. 882.

The Bengals are likely going to part ways with Trae Waynes this offseason and Eli Apple will probably be on his way out of Cincinnati as well. That leaves Chidobe Awuzie as the only competent cornerback in their 2022 plans.

Sure, Cincinnati could opt to re-sign Tre Flowers and/or Vernon Hargreaves if either guy shows anything. If they don’t re-sign them or land another notable player in free-agency, the draft will be the way to go, hopefully earlier on.

A.J. Hampton is who Cincinnati went with in this draft. The Northwestern corner has appeared in 10 games this season and has posted 31 tackles, nine defended passes, and two recovered fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The ideal situation for Cincinnati is to sign a cornerback in free agency (Kyle Fuller in free agency, perhaps?) but if they don’t, Hampton is a nice project option.

Round 5: Pick 146 – Amare Barno, EDGE (Virginia Tech)

847. . EDGE. Hokies . Amare Barno. 146. player

The Bengals have a better pass-rush than they did a season ago and Trey Hendrickson is to thank for that. The problem, however, is that teams now have figured out to double-team Hendrickson and that takes away Cincinnati’s greatest threat in the pass-rushing department.

While rookie Joseph Ossai should be set to return in 2022, the more pass-rushing options, the better. Amare Barno out of Virginia Tech had 6.5 sacks through 11 games last year at Virginia Tech and has 3.5 through eight games so far this year. He played linebacker prior to 2020 when he switched to defensive end, so he’s versatile defensively.