Ranking the Bengals’ top 5 options with No. 31 pick in 2022 NFL Draft

Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Kaiir Elam (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Kaiir Elam, CB (Florida)

All of the Eli Apple haters, take note — Kaiir Elam of Florida could be next up as a first-round cornerback pick for the Bengals.

Should he be? The answer would seem to be yes.

The Bengals lack much depth at the position, and there appear to be no short-term answers left in free agency, so grabbing a big-time corner at 31 makes sense.

Why is a big-time corner still on the board at 31? The 6’1″, 190-pound Elam had by some measures an “off” year in 2021. Elam drew far too many penalties and appeared to briefly lose trust in his abilities, leading to too many grabbing and holding type fouls.

The luxury of being able to slide into the secondary rotation with veteran guys like Hilton, Awuzie, and the oft-criticized Apple could pay off big time for Elam.

Not only does Elam have excellent size and ball skills, but he can also absolutely fly, running a 4.3 forty at the combine. Elam also played against the best competition in the country in the SEC, an aspect that often gets overlooked with small school corners (looking at you William Jackson).

With the luxury of being able to ease in behind savvy, veteran guys and the obvious physical attributes, Kaiir Elam could be a steal at the end of round one.