3 bold predictions for Cincinnati Bengals’ 2022 offseason

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Ahmad Gardner – Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK /

3. Bengals hit the sauce…Gardner that is

Hey, bold prediction, right? Well, what is bolder than the Bengals doing something they almost never do and trade UP in the first round to fill a glaring need? Let alone, trading up and NOT taking the position that everyone expects them to?

The most notable time Cincinnati traded up in the first round was way back before the internet when they traded the fifth overall and a second rounder for the ignominious privilege of drafting Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995. Due to injuries and just general bad luck that trade didn’t work out for the Bengals, but that shouldn’t dissuade them from swinging for the fences again.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner of hometown Cincinnati is a rare athlete that should dominate at his position for the better part of the next decade. Gardner is tall, fast, and very physical and could be the shutdown corner the Bengals lacked at Super Bowl LVI. Sauce allowed only 6.6 yards per reception in 2021 and allowed ZERO touchdowns during his entire collegiate career.

The Bengals already have a generational talent (maybe two), in the person of Joe Burrow, and perhaps Ja’Marr Chase, so why not attempt to go big and put that type of difference maker on the other side of the ball? If Gardner is as good as advertised, he could effectively take away half of the field and allow the rest of the defense to focus on the run and stopping secondary weapons.

What would it take to get him? There is a debate over who the first corner off the board will be, either Gardner or LSU corner Derek Stingley Jr. If Stingley goes first, it could be argued the Bengals could swing a deal to land Gardner around pick 10.

It’s hard to conceive two cornerbacks would go in the top 10 the way the draft picks are at this moment, and that could leave the door cracked for the Bengals to package the 31st pick and perhaps their third-round pick to move up for Gardner.

Yes, I know everyone has the team taking multiple offensive linemen in the first few rounds, but as we have seen numerous times, just because a lineman is a first or second-round pick doesn’t guarantee success. Billy Price? Cedric Ogbuehi? Do I need to list more names?

The team could snag Gardner, then take the best line prospect in round two and fill the draft out by need from there. A long shot, and highly unlikely I know, but these ARE bold predictions.