Cincinnati Bengals Pre Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draftby Mason Thompson March 3, 2022 0 comments
The Cincinnati Bengals returned to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season this year. Cincinnati took a major step forward under Zac Taylor, but the Bengals came up short in the Super Bowl to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, the front office turns to an important offseason with the needs, yet again, primarily along the offensive line. Joe Burrow was sacked numerous times throughout the regular season, and the games against the Tennessee Titans and Rams in the playoffs showed that the Bengals need to invest into their offensive line more than ever. The Bengals have eight picks in the draft, including two seventh-rounders.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 31: Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bengals traded up to draft Johnson. The interior of the offensive line is the biggest weakness on the roster right now, and Johnson can play virtually any position along the offensive line. He would immediately start at one of the guard spots and is more than capable to play center too. Johnson could go earlier than this, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bengals tried jumping the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills to snag the Boston College lineman.
Round 2, Pick 63: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa
Continuing to build up the offensive line, the Bengals take a shot at an uber-athletic but raw tackle. Smith is a redshirt sophomore from Tulsa but has all the tools to become a starting tackle in the NFL. While the Bengals may have to find a stop-gap at right tackle while Smith learns the ropes, expect Smith to find the field early in his NFL and become a starter and steal for whichever team drafts him on day two.
Round 3, Pick 95: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
Eli Apple showed throughout the season that he couldn’t back up his talk on the field. Even with that said, Apple, Tre Flowers, Darius Phillips, and Vernon Hargreaves are all impending free agents. That leaves only Chidobe Awuzie, Trae Waynes, and Mike Hilton under contract for Cincinnati at the cornerback spot. Taylor-Britt is a perfect fit for a team that mixes man and zone coverages and is a force in the run game. Taylor-Britt could also factor in on special teams. Cornerback rooms in the NFL today need to be deep, and with the surplus of cornerbacks for the Bengals heading to free agency, the Bengals could take one earlier than many expect.
Round 4, Pick 134: John Ridgeway, DL, Arkansas
With B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi as impending free agents, the Bengals need to add some pieces to their defensive line group that was severely depleted in the playoffs. Ridgeway is a former Illinois State transfer that produced in the SEC and performed very well in Mobile at the Senior Bowl.
Round 5, Pick 173: Alex Wright, EDGE, UAB
Even after spending big on Trey Hendrickson and drafting Joseph Ossai and Cameron Sample in last year’s draft, the Bengals should continue to take shots at the pass-rush group. Wright is a favorite on Twitter, and it would be shocking to see him last this long, but if he does, the Bengals should run the card up to the podium to add him to their pass-rush rotation.
Round 6, Pick 207: Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
Speaking of shocked to last this long, Ezukanma could see his stock skyrocket this week at the combine if he runs as fast as he looks on tape at the height and weight he is listed at. Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings loves the Texas Tech receiver, and it has translated to many across Draft Twitter. Yes, the Bengals don’t necessarily need another receiver, but this is a luxury pick for a team that can now take shots at players like Ezukanma that fall right into their lap.
Round 7, Pick 223: Markquese Bell, SAF, Florida A&M
One of the best prospects from the FCS level is Bell. He has seen a winding trail throughout his collegiate career, as he started at Maryland before being suspended from the college before finding his footing at Coffeyville Community College. Florida A&M was the next in line for the safety, and he made the most of it. Like the previous two, Bell could go much higher than this. Cincinnati should add a few depth pieces at the safety position, with Ricardo Allen an impending free agent. Of course, Jessie Bates is too, but hopefully, the Bengals and Bates can come to terms on a new contact.
Round 7, Pick 249: Nate Landman, LB, Colorado
Landman was expected to declare for the draft last year but unfortunately couldn’t due to a torn Achilles. Now, his stock has dropped but is picking back up following a good week at the Shrine Bowl. Landman is an instinctive, thumping linebacker that doesn’t have absurd athletic ability but will find depth and likely a role on special teams for the Bengals.