There won’t be a player taking the NFL by storm as receiver Ja’Marr Chase did during the 2021 season, but at first glance, it appears that the Cincinnati Bengals improved their defense in the 2022 NFL Draft. These moves should help when those who make NFL picks handicap the competitive AFC playoff race.
Daxton Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt bring physicality and position versatility to the Cincinnati secondary and the hope is that the pass rush will also be improved with some of the later draft picks. The Bengals traded up twice in their quest to improve the secondary.
The Bengals signed four receivers, three offensive linemen and three defensive backs as undrafted rookie free agents.
According to the Vegas NFL odds, Cincinnati (+200) is tied with the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns in the odds to win the AFC North Division title. The Bengals (+2000) are tied for the 11th best NFL picks to win the Super Bowl.
Let’s check the NFL lines, news, stats, reports for Bengals Recap. We’ve plenty of NFL odds for you to consider.
Pick 31 Daxton Hill | S, Michigan Wolverines
Daxton Hill did a little bit of everything for the Michigan defense. He was the Wolverines’ second-leading tackler to go with two interceptions, a fumble recovery and nine pass breakups.
Hill had the best three-cone drill and short shuttle times among his position group at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. He will offer some versatility to the back end of the Cincinnati secondary with the ability to be a factor in pass defense as well as helping in run support.
It is the first time since 2016 that Cincinnati used its top draft pick on a defensive back. Hill (+3300) is tied for seventh among defensive backs in the odds to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award according to the NFL lines.
The Bengals continue to make the moves they need to prove last season’s run to the Super Bowl was no fluke.
“Until you beat the division champions, they’re the team to beat in the AFC North. I don’t care what the Ravens, Browns, and Steelers have done in the off-season…the @Bengals are still the squad to beat. And guess what? They got better this off-season.” — @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/IYFTxvaQFv
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) May 23, 2022
Pick 60 Cam Taylor-Britt | CB, Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Bengals added another defensive back from the Big Ten. Cam Taylor-Britt had 18 pass breakups and six interceptions over the last three seasons. He also finished with 140 tackles during his four seasons at Nebraska.
Taylor-Britt split time between safety and cornerback earlier in his time with the Cornhuskers. Britt is viewed as a cornerback at the next level. He went to the combine and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and that pushed him up many draft boards. He can be physical against the run and he should factor into a reconfigured Cincinnati secondary.
Cincinnati gave up a sixth-round pick to move up three spots to grab Taylor-Britt.
Pick 95 Zachary Carter | DE, Florida Gators
Cincinnati will be getting back pass rusher Joseph Oddai, who was impressive during the preseason but missed the entire 2021 season due to injury, and added another player who can get after the quarterback. Carter had 27.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks over the last three seasons for the Gators.
Carter’s weight fluctuated over his four years. He showed up at the NFL Scouting Combine at 282 pounds and ran the 49-yard dash in 4.99 seconds.
There are some questions whether Carter will be asked to add some weight so he can play inside or if he will be utilized at defensive end.
Pick 136 Cordell Volson | OL, North Dakota State Bison
The Bengals used free agency to upgrade their offensive line. Volson is another player who can help protect franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
Volson had experience at both right and left tackle at Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse North Dakota State, although he projects to play inside at the NFL level.
Volson had an average showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, including a time of 5.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash. With the improvements to the offensive line, there are more reasons than ever for those who bet online to believe in the Bengals.
Pick 166 Tycen Anderson | S, Toledo Rockets
The 6-foot-2 Tycen Anderson opened up a few eyes by running the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the combine. His most productive season came in 2019 when he had 84 tackles and five pass breakups. Not recording an interception in his final 40 games at Toledo is a little concerning, but Anderson has the combination of size and speed to make an impact in the secondary or on special teams.
With three of the first five picks being used on defensive backs, it is clear what Cincinnati’s objective was heading into the draft.
The Bengals gave up two late-round selections to move up for pick No. 166.
Pick 252 Jeffrey Gunter | DE, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Jeffrey Gunter was pretty consistent with 6½ sacks during both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Gunter posted double digits in tackles for loss in each of his last seasons.
The 6-foot-4, 258-pound Gunter ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds to go with a 35½-inch vertical leap and a 10-2 broad jump. His physical traits combined with a productive run at Coastal Carolina led the Bengals to take a chance on a player who could help with the pass rush.
Grading the Draft
Cincinnati turned its focus on improving its secondary after using its first pick on an offensive player in each of the last five drafts.
The Bengals added three defensive backs and two pass rushers and it is hard to blame them for going down that path, considering that Cincinnati was seventh in the AFC in scoring defense during the 2021 season.
For Cincinnati to return to the Super Bowl, it will need to deal with quarterbacks like Buffalo’s Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City. These picks were generally well received by NFL draft analysts, so it is hard to find too much fault with the Bengals’ draft.