The Cincinnati Bengals focused heavily on the defensive side of the ball in the 2022 NFL Draft but cornerback is still considered to be their biggest need.
Some fans might find this odd, as the team spent three of their six draft choices on players in the secondary. In the first round, they added Daxton Hill, the second round brought them Cam Taylor-Britt, and in round five, Tycen Anderson became a Bengal.
Even with this extra emphasis on their secondary, Davenport still thinks the stripes should be looking for another cornerback.
"But neither of those rookies has experience or (at first glance) the skill set to be a difference-maker on the boundary. The Bengals hit the jackpot last year in free agency with the addition of Chidobe Awuzie, but the other outside spot (presently held by journeyman Eli Apple) is a weakness the Rams exploited in their victory over Cincy in Super Bowl LVI."
Cornerback still big need for Bengals
As Davenport mentioned, Chidobe Awuzie was a solid addition to the Bengals’ secondary but it’s the opposite side that’s viewed as potentially problematic. While Eli Apple came on strong in the second half of last season, he did have a rough outing in the Super Bowl and the Rams did what they could to exploit him. It worked, for the record.
Davenport argues in his article that while the Bengals added both Hill and Taylor-Britt, neither of them might be prepared enough to step into that role quite yet, forcing Apple to do so.
At this point, James Bradberry presents the best option in free agency by a wide margin. Chris Harris Jr. is still unsigned as well and he had a nice year with the Chargers in 2021.
Perhaps the Bengals go big and bring in Bradberry (though it’s doubtful considering how much draft capital they spent on their secondary) or maybe they sign someone like Harris or Kyle Fuller.
What seems more likely, though, is that they roll with the group they currently have on the roster and if that ends up being the case, the defense should still be pretty strong, even with Apple as the main option.