Just a few plays away from the Super Bowl in February, the Cincinnati Bengals have dramatically improved their biggest flaw from last season: their offensive line. Yet, in our final mock draft, the Bengals grab the final piece in the 2022 NFL Draft. Will this make them a repeat Super Bowl team in 2022?
Cincinnati Bengals 2022 7-Round Mock Draft
Here are projections of every pick the Cincinnati Bengals could make within a 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, with the Pro Football Network staff as the general manager. This is what we would do with the picks after the board shook out while doing a full 7-round, 32-team mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 31: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
The Cincinnati Bengals are gifted Tyler Linderbaum at pick No. 31 after addressing the rest of their offensive line this offseason. Linderbaum slides into the starting role at center from Day 1. He understands leverage and has terrific strength for a man his size. Joe Burrow will love his new-look offensive line in 2022, especially his potential All-Pro at center in Linderbaum.
Round 2, Pick 63: Nick Cross, S, Maryland
After being gifted Linderbaum in Round 1, the Bengals get their man at safety to nearly close out Round 2. Nick Cross has track speed and receiver hands. He closes space in coverage well, ranges along the backside of the defense better, and can cover receivers from all types of alignments. He doesn’t factor into the starting lineup just yet, but pairing Cross with Jessie Bates III as Vonn Bell’s eventual replacement is an ideal career trajectory.
Round 3, Pick 95: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Finding success with drafting linebackers from the middle of nowhere, Troy Andersen joins Logan Wilson and Co. to increase the prowess of the Bengals’ second level. In run defense, Andersen runs the alley well and can play inside with Germaine Pratt. Andersen will fight off hands and speed past block attempts, roaming sideline to sideline. He may need seasoning in coverage of the NFL’s receivers, but once he does, he’s already a proficient and technical linebacker.
Round 4, Pick 136: Cole Turner, TE, Nevada
Lacking few things on offense, the Bengals grab Nevada’s Cole Turner to improve their tight end unit. Turner is a big man with a bigger catch radius. He utilizes it well all across the field, but he’s a dominant red-zone threat. Joe Burrow will quickly have a new short-yardage and goal-to-go pass target.
Round 5, Pick 174: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia
Cincinnati went after the free agent market on the offensive line this offseason. They secured their biggest weakness with multiple signings. Justin Shaffer allows them even more insurance and further improvements along the unit. Shaffer can play either guard spot and could even be seen as an improvement over Alex Cappa in the years to come.
Round 6, Pick 209: Vincent Gray, CB, Michigan
The Bengals are deep at a bevy of positions, cornerback included. However, Vincent Gray‘s addition to the CB room gives Cincinnati the potential to host three starting-caliber cornerbacks. Gray is sticky in coverage and comes equipped with a versatile skill set. He can cover in or out, in man or zone. Gray’s play speed places him as a prime candidate for special-teams work right away.
Other players in consideration: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest; Kyler McMichael, CB, North Carolina
Round 7, Pick 226 (from NYG): Marquan McCall, DT, Kentucky
Marquan McCall is a ball of energy on the defensive line. He is quick off the line and brings a tenacious attitude. Slightly limited in his pass-rush arsenal, McCall will still boost the Bengals’ defensive unit with his attitude and athleticism.
Other players in consideration: Shaun Jolly, CB, Appalachian State; Nate Landman, LB, Colorado
Round 7, Pick 252: Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona State
A long tackle with plenty of bend and strength, Kellen Diesch has the perfect mold for a tackle in today’s NFL. He can add to the Bengals’ improved offensive line with his ability to play either tackle spot in a pinch. Diesch looked comfortable and polished during his time at the Shrine Bowl.
Other players in consideration: Carson Wells, LB, Colorado; Jean Delance, OT, Florida
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