Cincinnati Bengals NFL Draft Grades 2022: Daxton Hill becomes versatile option in Bengals secondary

What are the Cincinnati Bengals' grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Cincinnati Bengals have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Bengals’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?

Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Cincinnati Bengals draft grades and analysis.

Cincinnati Bengals grades for 2022 NFL Draft

What are the Bengals’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

Round 1, Pick 31: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

The Bengals stuck with the trend of unpredictability in the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting Michigan defensive back Daxton Hill with the 31st overall pick. Hill adds to an improving secondary, and the appeal with the Wolverines defender is that he can play just about anywhere you need him to.

Standing at 6’0”, 191 pounds, with 32 1/4” arms, Hill has good size. He’s also incredibly versatile. With a combination of elite explosiveness and fluidity, he can play in the slot, in two-high, or even shade out to the boundary. And he has enough range to fill in at single-high on occasion. Hill’s fit is a bit questionable. He played the slot a lot at Michigan, but Mike Hilton plays that role for Cincinnati. Jessie Bates III is also still around for the time being. But if he leaves in 2023, Hill can file right in. And in the meantime, he’s a dynamic playmaker who can play legitimately anywhere.

Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 60: Cam-Taylor Britt, CB, Nebraska

The Cincinnati Bengals are making a concerted effort to improve their secondary in the 2022 NFL Draft. In the first round, they selected defensive back Daxton Hill out of Michigan. Now, in Round 2, they select Nebraska defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt.

Taylor-Britt gives the Bengals the length they’ve been lacking on the boundary. He’s 5’10 5/8”, 196 pounds, with 31 1/2” arms, and he also has great closing speed coming downhill. He’s not the most fluid cornerback, but he compensates with great awareness, route recognition, closing speed, and physicality. And if you need him to, he can shade into the slot in a pinch.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 95: Zachary Carter, DT, Florida

Defensive tackle was a common position to mock to the Bengals in the offseason, even after the return of B.J. Hill. There’s still a lot of room for Cincinnati to strengthen their rotation on the interior. Zachary Carter fulfills that need at the bottom of Round 3.

Carter sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, but he’s a very good player. He was a bit of a tweener at Florida, often playing as a big EDGE. He’s 6’4”, 282 pounds, but wears his weight very well. At the NFL level, he likely translates best inside at 3-technique. He has heavy hands and is one of the best at generating power at the point of attack. Alongside D.J. Reader, he can be a productive player.

Grade: B+

Round 4, Pick 136: Cordell Volson, OT, North Dakota State

North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson is a straight-up mauler in the ground game. He clears out running lanes with a natural savagery, showing a genuine disdain for his fellow man. While he excels in the ground game with a combination of demeanor and strength, he’s not without upside as a pass protector.

Volson looks the part with size and relative length. He can long-arm his opponent away from the path of his quarterback. While he’s been the starting offensive tackle for the Bison, a switch inside potentially awaits at the next level where some of the negative aspects of his scouting report – high pad level, limited lateral athleticism, and timing his hands in pass protection – will be mitigated.

Grade: B+ at guard, C at offensive tackle

Round 5, Pick 166: Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo

After taking Daxton Hill at the back end of the first round, the Cincinnati Bengals double-dip at the safety position after striking a trade with the Chicago Bears. There’s a clear theme here for the Bengals – athleticism. Hill is an elite athlete and Toledo safety Tycen Anderson follows in a similar vein. While his athletic upside is enticing, Anderson also plays the game with remarkable discipline, reading plays at a high level and using his combination of athleticism and intelligence. At 6’1” and 209 pounds, he’s more than a match for most receivers in coverage.

Grade: B+

Round 7, Pick 252: Jeffrey Gunter, EDGE, Coastal Carolina

The Cincinnati Bengals may have gotten the steal of the draft with just 10 picks left to go. Versatile Coastal Carolina defensive weapon Jeffrey Gunter was a top-150 player on my big board. While he might not possess conventional NFL size for a defensive end, Gunter certainly has the length and power to be dominant at the point of attack.

Furthermore, he possesses an excellent athletic profile that enables him to play from virtually any alignment on the defense. With special-teams ability and excellence as a kick blocker, Gunter could make an early impact in that regard for the Bengals.

Grade: A

What were the Bengals’ biggest needs entering the draft?

  • C, S, G, CB, TE

It says a lot about how poor the Bengals offensive line was last year that they put a heavy focus on the position in free agency and still have needs at two of the positions. The departure of C.J. Uzomah also opened a need for a tight end but the nature of the position meant it was not an urgent need in free agency.

Defensively, the focus is on the secondary, but the needs are more for initial depth. Their pass rush is not a major need, but you can never rule out needing more depth when it comes to getting after the passer.

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