When the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offseason began and fans started looking toward the 2022 NFL Draft, it didn’t feel like Tyler Linderbaum lasting until the end of the first round was a strong possibility.
Now, however, Linderbaum might very well be on the board when the Bengals make their first selection of the draft.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports had Linderbaum falling to Cincinnati in his latest mock draft, noting:
"The Bengals will be tempted to go corner here and finally get competition for Eli Apple. Instead, Duke Tobin can slide Ted Karras to a familiar left guard position and ultimately overhaul 80% of his starting OL."
Another CBS Sports mock draft, this one done by Chris Trapasso, also had the Iowa product sliding to the end of the first round where the stripes gladly snatched him up.
"The Bengals offensive line renovation gets a nice cherry on top with Linderbaum in the late stages of the first round."
Nate Tice of The Athletic mock draft also had the reigning AFC Champions landing Linderbaum in his . While you need a subscription to read the mock draft, Tice mentions that the addition of the Iowa center would give Joe Burrow even more protection.
It almost feels destined for Tyler Linderbaum to fall to Bengals
Now these are just three mock drafts out of what feels like millions floating around on the internet but it does feel like Linderbaum is dropping on most big boards. That could make him available for the Bengals to add with the second-to-last pick in round one.
Adding Linderbaum would move newly-signed free agent Ted Karras to left guard while the rookie out of Iowa would slide in at center. This would give the Bengals a solid unit upfront to protect Joe Burrow for the next three or four years (assuming that Jonah Williams’ fifth-year option was exercised and then he was extended) and that’s something the team should jump at trying to accomplish.
Linderbaum once appeared to be a lock to go in the top 15 picks but centers tend to slide as the first round inches closer and we’re seeing that happen again. Fans might be scared for the team to grab the Iowa center after what happened with Billy Price but these are two very different players.
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Linderbaum could make the Cincinnati Bengals a better team and if he’s there late in the first round, it’d be hard for the stripes to pass on adding him to their new and improved offensive line.