With the 31st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft the Cincinnati Bengals selected safety Daxton Hill, out of the University of Michigan.
This pick may have seemed a bit unconventional to Cincinnati Bengals fans, but Daxton Hill is really a pick that a team looking to extend its Super Bowl window would want to make.
On top of that, he offers the ability to make an instant impact this year. Additionally, some fans seem to think this spells the end of Jessie Bates III in a Bengals uniform, but this may not be the case.
If any fans are feeling a little doubtful about this pick, keep reading and we will try to ease your mind.
The Scouting Report on Hill that I used is from Bleacher Report.
Safety of the Future
More than anything, this is a pick by a team who knows they have a generational QB, along with what will be an expensive WR corp, and knows they will not be able to afford everyone.
After the 2022 season, both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell’s contracts will expire. Along with the aforementioned contracts, the team will also be looking at extensions for Jonah Williams and Logan Wilson.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say, at least one of the current safeties will not be back next season. Hill works as, at the very least, a player who can learn under two of the best safeties in the game, and come in in 2023 with plenty of experience.
Depth, Depth, Depth
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about last season’s Super Bowl run was the way that the Bengals had almost every single injury or potential injury go their way.
Had Chidobe Awuzie, Eli Apple, or Mike Hilton missed any significant time, the drop-off in the cornerback room was steep. Not only does Hill back up Bates and Bell, but he is also an immediate backup to Mike Hilton, and can cover tight ends as Tre Flowers does.
Hill is essentially a chess piece, and Bengals fans know how Lou Anarumo loves to move his guys around.
Lou Anarumo used last year to show just how creative a defensive coordinator he could be. From resurrecting the careers of Eli Apple and B.J. Hill to managing to formulate a second half-game-plan to shut the Chiefs down TWICE, he should have earned our trust by now.
Some fans may be worried this spells the end for Bates, but (not counting a potential holdout) according to Joe Goodberry, Hill’s career snap splits look as such:
Throughout last season, the team (especially at the start of the year) was using a lot of three safety looks, with Ricardo Allen before he got hurt, and then used Michael Thomas. Eventually, Flowers took over the role, which he played extremely well. If the team wants to see if Flowers can play on the outside, this allows a pretty comfortable transition of that role in the defense.
Additionally, there are many who feel that Daxton Hill can play as an outside corner. While he does have some experience in this, as the above splits show, it is obviously not his strong suit, but it would not be surprising to see the team attempt to give him some run on the outside in camp and preseason.
Overall, this is a shrewd pick by the Bengals’ front office.
While he may not be as big of an impact player in year one as many fans were hoping to get, Daxton Hill can still be impactful this year. A top 20 player on many analysts’ boards, Hill was a value pick that the Bengals have always cherished.
The most interesting part of his usage this coming season will be how much they decide to try him as a boundary corner, and we will also see if they decided to go for another corner during the draft.
"Cincinnati Bengals: All-time passing leaders in franchise history"
Lou Anarumo should have earned Bengals fans’ trust by now, so it will be exciting to see how he implements Hill into his scheme.