Bengals Draft: Mel Kiper first-round mock links Cincinnati to defensive stud

Leigh Oleszczak
Travis Jones - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Travis Jones - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Throughout the offseason, it felt like a certainty that we’d see the Cincinnati Bengals go with an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft but after an impressive first wave of free agency, we could see the Bengals draft differently. Mel Kiper has them going with a defensive lineman in his latest mock draft.

Kiper linked the Bengals to UCONN defensive tackle, Travis Jones. He cites the Bengals’ determination in improving the offensive line in free agency as a reason for them to be open to going in another direction with this selection and Jones is who he had them taking.

Kiper also mentioned that Jones could be a replacement for Larry Ogunjobi (though I wouldn’t be shocked if Ogunjobi returned to Cincinnati). The team already brought B.J. Hill back on a three-year deal but they could certainly use some more help on the d-line.

Bengals Draft: Is Travis Jones a good fit at No. 31?

Jones appeared in 11 games this past year and racked up 48 tackles and 4.5 sacks for the Huskies. He’s an excellent run defender, which both Kiper and Kyle Marino of The Draft Network makes it a point to note when discussing Jones.

Marino also mentions that Jones could be someone who shines even brighter at the professional level than he did at the collegiate level. The Draft Network, as a whole, has Jones as a second-round pick so the Bengals would be reaching on him at No. 31.

If Jones was their top target, they’d be able to trade back into the second round and gain another pick out of it. He has moved up the draft boards a bit in these past few weeks but spending a first-round pick on him would be surprising, to say the least.

With the Bengals putting so much emphasis on the offensive line in free agency, they’ll now be able to target other positions of need in the first round. Jones would sure fill that need but if they wait until round two and take him then, that’d be better yet.

"Cincinnati Bengals mock draft after first week of 2022 free agency"

What do you think of this pick, Bengals fans?