Nobody saw the Cincinnati Bengals coming last season and they shocked the league by being the Super Bowl runner-ups. Joe Burrow solidified himself as a top tier quarterback and J’Marr Chase turned out to be the right decision as their first round pick in 2021. Overall, the season was success for Cincy, but they have some major holes to fill if they want to repeat that success in 2022.
The offensive line is still bad. After giving up nine sacks in the AFC Divisional Round against Tennessee, it showed they need to focus on improving in that area. To do that they will have to go to the draft and with one of the deepest drafts for offensive linemen in the last decade, it should be fairly easy.
Round 1, Pick 31: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
The Bengals should look to find a solution to their offensive line issues on day one. Joe Burrow has already been lost to injury once and beat up a lot in his first two years.
Grabbing a player like Kenyon Green would not only shore up the offensive line, but also give them room to improve other areas of the roster in the future. Green is a massive human being with good movement skills at the guard position. He can kick out to the tackle spot if needed but is more suited for the interior. His solid punch at the point of attack and ability to squat on power rushers is something the Bengals are missing and desperately need.
Green is a lifer: a true long tenure player and being able to get him would bolster an offensive line in dire need of help.
Round 2, Pick 31: Lecitus Smith, OL, Virginia Tech
Round 3, Pick 31: Scott Patchan, Edge, Colorado State
Like day one, improving the offensive line and the defense should be the lead priority. The Bengals should be able to benefit from the depth of the draft and be able to find another starter for the o-line.
Lecitus Smith has all the tools of a starting guard in the NFL you look for. His size, athleticism and technique are solid and he has a good IQ. HIs overall ability is best served for the run game, but he is a better pass blocker than what is on the roster right now as well.
Patchan is a high motor edge rusher who routinely beat double teams in college. His ability to not only track mobile quarterbacks, but also stuff cut back lanes will add to what is already on the roster in Cincinnati. He already possesses second and third counter moves during his pass rush and that will make him an instant contributor at the next level.
Round 4, Pick 27: Cade Cotton, TE, Washington
Round 5, Pick 27: Daniel Wright, Safety, Alabama
Round 6, Pick 40: Sam Webb, CB, Missouri Western State
Round 7, Pick 5: Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M
Round 7, Pick 31: Liam Shanahan, OL, LSU
Day three will be a day of adding depth and role players to the roster for the Bengals. With holes at tight end, corner and offensive line, the Bengals should look to fill them with quality bodies.
Players like Cade Cotton, Sam Webb and Liam Shanahan could round out a pretty successful day for the Bengals’ franchise.
Cotton is a well rounded tight end who has elite pass catching ability. He is a marginal blocker, but in an offense that predicates itself on creating space with the tight end, he fits well. Giving Burrow a solid seam target after losing Chris Uzomah in free agency would be huge in the late rounds.
Webb is a corner with good coverage ability but he lacks physicality at times. He has the technique to play off coverage though and he would be an upgrade over Eli Apple. His best ability is his nose for getting the ball out of receivers hands to prevent catches even if he is beat. The Bengals missed that in the Super Bowl and Webb would provide that in bunches.
Liam Shanahan is an interior lineman who slates as a center at the next level. He is a high IQ player who plays as an extension of his QB. He is solid in pass protection but shines in run blocking. He has a mean streak and searches out linebackers and safeties on the second level to clear paths for running backs. Cincinnati overhauling their interior offensive line could pay dividends for their long term success and Shanahan may be the last piece to the puzzle.
Overall this draft should be offensive line focused for Cincy and if they want to make it back to the big dance, they have to find some big men to protect their signal caller.