Having come up short of a Super Bowl last season, could this 2022 7-Round NFL Mock Draft help the Cincinnati Bengals address some glaring needs and lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy in State Farm Stadium next February? Here’s who the AFC champions could select in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Cincinnati Bengals 2022 7-Round Mock Draft
For the purposes of this Bengals 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we’ve used PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator with trades. However, the selections are hand-picked based on the projected needs for the Bengals in the 2022 NFL Draft. Cincinnati currently has eight picks in April. Let’s break down how this haul improves the Bengals’ future fortunes.
Round 1, Pick 31: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
Ja’Marr Chase was the right choice. Dealing in absolutes is a dangerous pastime, but we can say that with some certainty at this point. However, that doesn’t detract from the fact that this time around, the Bengals must address the offensive line. Giving up the third-most sacks — and second-highest sack percentage — isn’t sustainable.
They’ve addressed their line in free agency plenty but there is more work to be done. Especially at center where Ted Karras isn’t the answer of the future. If Cincinnati decides to address the offensive line with the 31st overall pick and Tyler Linderbaum is available, it must be done.
This is exactly what the Bengals do in this mock draft. Linderbaum is often slapped with the “generational talent” moniker, but in his case, it’s warranted. Outside of Linderbaum, the 2022 NFL Draft center class leaves a lot to be desired. He’s a pick of need and the top of the class. More than enough reasons to select him here at No. 31.
Round 2, Pick 63: Martin Emerson, CB, Mississippi State
Eli Apple, Vernon Hargreaves, and Tre Flowers are all free agents. Cincinnati is yet to see a return on investment from Trae Waynes, who will likely be a cap casualty. As a result, cornerback projects to be a potentially key need for the Bengals as they retool for another run at the Super Bowl.
In a deeply talented cornerback class, Mississippi State’s Martin Emerson is an oft-overlooked prospect. At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, he has the size to play outside at the NFL level. This size is assisted by impressive length. Emerson is a fast and fluid athlete who also displays playmaking ball skills. Importantly for a landing spot in the AFC North, Emerson plays the game with physicality.
Round 3, Pick 95: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
With a stacked wide receiver room, don’t expect the Bengals to strike at the position in April. However, that doesn’t preclude them from adding a pass catcher in the 2022 NFL Draft. Leading tight end C.J. Uzomah heads to the New York Jets, leaving Cincinnati to find a new a security blanket for Burrow.
Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert would be security for the Bengals quarterback from multiple perspectives. Ruckert combines an excellent catch radius with strong hands and solid catching technique. As a result, he’s a dangerous touchdown threat. Additionally, for a team that needs to protect Burrow better, Ruckert is a willing and able blocker both in the passing and ground game.
Round 4, Pick 135: Cade Mays, G, Tennessee
Unsurprisingly, this Bengals mock draft returns to the offensive line. Despite adding former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Alex Cappa, Cincinnati should still look to add depth to the interior of the offensive line. Although he’s seen time at right tackle, Cade Mays’ NFL projection is at guard. He plays the game with a nasty mentality and physicality, and he has the arm length to keep opposition defensive linemen at bay. While the focus is on protecting Burrow, Mays also adds an athletic presence as a run blocker that should benefit Joe Mixon.
Round 5, Pick 174: Joshua Williams, DB, Fayetteville State
With the Bengals slapping the franchise tag on safety Jessie Bates III, the need to find a replacement at safety isn’t as significant as it could have been. As a result, they have an element of flexibility in how they address some issues in the secondary. Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams gives them a versatile playmaker in the defensive back room. Although he’s a cornerback by college trade, he has safety experience. Alongside exceptional size (6’2 1/2″) and decent athletic ability, he plays with the physicality of a linebacker.
Round 6, Pick 208: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
The free agency acquisitions of Trey Hendrickson and D.J. Reader in the last two seasons have improved Cincy’s defensive line. One of the worst teams in the NFL at applying pressure to the quarterback just a year ago, they featured in the top half of the league for both sacks and pressures following the 2021 NFL season.
Yet, with B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi hitting the open market, Thomas Booker gives the Bengals a replacement at 3-tech in this mock draft. An excellent pre-draft process has enhanced the Stanford prospect’s NFL Draft stock.
Round 7, Pick 224: Bamidele Olaseni, OT, Utah
With their first of two seventh-round picks in this mock draft, the Bengals add a natural right tackle. Bamidele Olaseni is a freakish mountain of a prospect. At 6’7″, 348 pounds, and boasting over 36″ arms, the Utah tackle certainly looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle. While there is some technical development to be made, he has impressive reps against some of the best pass-rush talent in the nation.
Round 7, Pick 250: Brandon Sebastian, CB, Boston College
With the final pick of this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, the Bengals double up at the cornerback position. As we alluded to earlier, there may be a lot of potential departures, and you can never have too many good cornerbacks — which is exactly what Brandon Sebastian is.
During his Eagles career, he’s been extremely productive, tallying 29 pass deflections with 8 interceptions. Additionally, he’s an impressive run defender whose physicality has seen him align as a strong safety in both high school and college.