5 Bengals who can make a splash in the 2022 preseason

D'Ante Smith #70 and Drew Sample #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
D'Ante Smith #70 and Drew Sample #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
D’Ante Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

D’Ante Smith – Guard/ Tackle

The offensive line was a serious issue last year heading into the season. The Bengals spent three draft picks in 2021 trying to fix the problem. They selected Jackson Carman in the second round, D’Ante Smith in the fourth, and Trey Hill in the sixth. All three played in parts of the season but proved there would be a huge learning curve for them.

Smith is an intriguing player coming out of East Carolina Univerity. Besides having a 6’5″, 295-pound frame, he has a 35-inch arm reach, a trait that NFL coaches look for in top tackles in the league. His ability to play guard and tackle, plus his agility at the position, left no doubt they were willing to take a chance on him.

The coaching staff was so impressed with Smith that they were going to start him at right guard last season, but unfortunately, the rookie injured his meniscus, which required surgery and placed him on the injured reserve for most of the season.

The Bengals were able to fill much-needed holes in their offensive line through free agency by signing Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and La’el Collins. However, there are still real concerns about the left guard position even though Jackson Carman is penciled in at that spot. Now that Smith is healthy, could he come and retake the left guard position?

A solid performance in the preseason games could give the coaching staff the confidence to retry Smith as a starter or, at the very least, put pressure on the other players to step up their game.

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Watch out for these five Bengals, folks.