Bengals Roster: 4 injured players who could make an impact in 2022

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
D’Ante Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

3. D’Ante Smith

The Bengals knew that their offensive line needed a lot of polishing this past offseason and while it hasn’t been perfect, the unit is starting to look better. Cincinnati spent a fourth-round pick on East Carolina’s D’Ante Smith, who spent time at left tackle during his college career. He only played in one game in 2020 but the Bengals saw enough from him to spend a fourth-rounder on the guy.

Smith flourished in the preseason, working his way up the depth chart and at one time, jumping second-round pick Jackson Carman for the backup right guard job. While Smith never ended up getting onto the field before his late October injury that landed him on IR, it wouldn’t be shocking if he worked his way into a starting job in the 2022 season.

When projecting the 2022 starting offensive line, I didn’t have Smith as a starter, but that’s because I predicted Cincy would re-sign both Quinton Spain and Riley Reiff to play left guard and right tackle respectively. If one or neither of those guys come back to the Queen City next year, Smith could easily win one of the starting jobs available at left guard, right guard, or right tackle.

Injuries have proven to be an issue for Smith over the past year but if he’s healthy and good to go next year, he can make a big impact for the offense in what looks to be an important year for the stripes.