Bengals find potential Jessie Bates replacement in NFL.com mock draft
The Cincinnati Bengals are in a good spot heading into the 2022 NFL Draft and that means they could take just about anyone with the 31st overall pick.
Rhett Lewis of NFL.com put together a cool mock draft where he listed both the player the team needed to take when they were on the clock regardless if that player was available or not. He also listed the best player available for the team when their turn came around.
For the Bengals, Lewis said the need was Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith and that the best player available was Georgia safety, Lewis Cine, and that’s who Cincy selected in this particular mock draft.
"Even if linebacker is a bigger need, I’d expect a few other names like Quay Walker, Christian Harris and Chad Muma to come off the board before Smith. That said, safety may not be a huge need, with Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell teaming up to form one of the most dynamic duos at that position in the NFL. But you’d love to provide depth and amplify a position of strength here with PFF’s best available player."
It’s no secret that things aren’t great between the Bengals and Jessie Bates right now and that’s why drafting a safety in the first round could make sense. It’s not the sexiest position in the league but Cine would give the stripes a potential replacement for Bates should an extension not be agreed upon.
Can the Bengals find a replacement for Jessie Bates in the draft?
Smith is an interesting “need” for Cincinnati, as I haven’t seen him mocked in the first round a ton. The Penn State product notched 81 total tackles, five defended passes, and two sacks through 12 games this past year.
Cine was also a tackling machine during his final season at Georgia, tallying 73 tackles, nine defended passes, and an interception through 15 games. Putting him in a safety room with Bates and Vonn Bell would definitely give Cincinnati one of the best safety situations in the league and it’d set the team up for success if an extension for Bates doesn’t come.
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What do you think of this first-round mock for the Bengals? Would you want to see Lewis Cine be the team’s pick at No. 31?