The Cincinnati Bengals‘ draft got underway at pick No. 31 and the player joining the reigning AFC champions is Daxton Hill out of Michigan. The star safety will help bolster the team’s secondary but some fans seemed disappointed that Cincy passed on Andrew Booth out of Florida, who would have filled the team’s need at cornerback.
Hill is someone who can step into the Bengals’ defense and be used in a multitude of ways, which is a nice skill to have. Drafting him, however, might indicate that things aren’t going to end well between Jessie Bates and the Bengals and it’s also important to note that Vonn Bell is a free-agent next year as well.
With all of this in mind, what grade do the Bengals deserve for their selection of Daxton Hill in the first round?
Grading Bengals’ selection of Daxton Hill
A few things to factor in when it comes to a draft pick, especially a first-round draft pick, are: Does it fill a position of need? Can the player be inserted into the lineup right away? Is he a good fit for the team?
While safety isn’t necessarily a need for this year, this pick is all about what could happen in the not-so-distant future. I touched on the Bates situation and also how Bell is slated to hit free agency and that could leave Cincinnati without a true starting safety. Hill gives them one.
With those two players still on the roster for 2022, however, (assuming Bates does indeed play on the franchise tag), Hill might end up sliding into more of a cornerback role. He has the versatility to do so.
The Bengals need good tacklers and Hill is just that, notching 69 total tackles for the Wolverines during a 14-game stint in 2021. I’d say that makes him a nice fit for this team and he should be put right to work in this young and revamped defense.
With all of that said, it’s time to grade the selection. While there were other players on the board who might have made more sense for the stripes here, I still think this is a solid selection for the reigning AFC champs. I’ll give the Daxton Hill pick a B+.
What grade are you giving this pick?