Bengals 2022 mock offseason: Predicting free agency and the draft

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Kaiir Elam – Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kaiir Elam – Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Five-Round Mock Draft

Round 1- Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Having somewhat addressed the offensive line in free agency, the Bengals can feel the flexibility to draft a defensive player in the first round for the first time since 2016, when they selected cornerback William Jackson III. This time, they go back to the cornerback position with Florida prospect Kaiir Elam.

In his profile on the Florida cornerback, NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein compared Elam to Chicago Bears’ stud Jaylon Johnson. Putting a Johnson-level player alongside the Bengals’ No. 1 cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and nickel cornerback Mike Hilton would give Lou Anarumo one of the best secondaries in the NFL for the foreseeable future if Elam can reach his full potential.

Round 2- Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

Despite addressing the interior of their offensive line in free agency, the Bengals still head into the draft with a glaring hole at the right tackle position.

Isaiah Prince was underwhelming as a starter when given the opportunity and D’Ante Smith has potential but can’t be trusted as the answer for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. By selecting Abraham Lucas out of Washington State, the Bengals would hope to find a long-term answer at the right tackle position.

Round 3- Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee

Cincy will make a priority of re-signing B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi, but it is probably a long shot to expect both to be back in 2022. If they bring back just one of the two, there will be a glaring need for another defensive tackle in the rotation. Tennessee defensive tackle Matthew Butler would be a good rotational player early in his career with the potential to develop into a disruptive 3-tech for the Bengals’ defense.

Round 4a- Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA

Wide receiver is the stripes’ most elite group in the starting lineup. However, behind stars Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, they are surprisingly thin. Joe Burrow’s success could be greatly hindered if one of his wide receivers misses an extended period of time, so adding a reliable fourth option gives the Bengals a bit more comfort if they suffer an injury at the position.

In addition, the Bengals appear interested in adding a new kick and punt returner. Kyle Philips out of UCLA is a solid slot receiver with legit skills in the return game.

Round 4b- Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia Tech

Bringing tight end C.J. Uzomah back will be a top priority and it is one of the moves I am more confident that they will make this offseason. However, Drew Sample has been largely unimpressive in his three years with the Bengals and 2022 will likely be his last year in Cincinnati.

Virginia Tech tight end Jelani Woods is a tantalizing prospect, standing at 6’7″ and putting up elite numbers at the combine, who has the potential to develop into the ideal No. 2 tight end in the Bengals offense.

Round 5- Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State

Even after bringing back B.J. Hill and adding a defensive tackle on day two of the draft, the reigning AFC champs could still use some depth on the interior of their defensive line. Haskell Garrett out of Ohio State had a great college career, but tested poorly at the combine and will likely be available on day three of the draft.

Next. Bengals Could Form a Superteam With These Free Agents. dark

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