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Friday, May 27, 2022

Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft after free agency rebuilds line

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The 2022 NFL draft is wide open for the Cincinnati Bengals after spending heavily in free agency on the offensive line.

Cincinnati entered the first week of free agency needing to improve in four of the five spots on the offensive line.

Ted Karras (center), Alex Cappa (guard) and La’el Collins (right tackle) made up three of the four in an impressive win for the organization. Now, looking at the draft, they don’t have to be locked into need in the first round.

With that theme in mind, here’s a look at a new seven-round mock draft for the team as things slow down in free agency.

31. Kaiir Elam, BC, Fla.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Corner is likely to be the best player available by the time the Bengals walk to the podium. That’s the case for Elam, a bigger cornerback with elite speed (4.39) and outside potential. He could rotate overseas with Eli Apple right away, providing key depth and significant long-term potential.

63. Dylan Parham, LIO, Memphis

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals still need to take over the offensive line at some point because they can’t count on Jackson Carman as a sure thing. That, and they just need more depth. Parham is a solid shooting guard prospect with a lot of experience, something the team values ​​in the draft.

95. Troy Anderson, LB, Montana State

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The Bengals could use some depth across the board on defense and will continue to focus on hugely productive players and winners. That’s Anderson, who had 150 tackles last year alone and has shown versatility in applying pressure and keeping tight ends in coverage.

136. Tyrese Robinson, IOL, Okla.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have a lot of younger depth that they like off the bench now on the offensive line. But it’s a lottery at this point: They’ve had a miserable time selecting and developing their own guys. It’s best to keep adding more to the mix, especially with Robinson available so late given his experience and potential.

174. Bryan Cook, DB, Cincinnati

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Cincinnati was very, very lucky with injuries for most of last season. They can’t rely on that anymore, especially in the secondary given the wild arms race in the AFC lately. Bearcats corner Bryan Cook also gets a chance to play safety, and this crew loves the looks of three safeties, so it’s a big win at this point in the draft.

209. Jeffrey Gunter, Edge, Carolina Coast

Nicholas LoVerde-USA TODAY Sports

While names like Joseph Ossai and Cam Sample can and will contribute, pass-rush remains a problem area. Gunter is a super-athletic pressure maker who, if asked, could provide a boost in a rotation, regardless of long-term development prospects.

226. Luke Goedeke, OT, Michigan center

(AJ Mast/AP Images for the NFL)

Yeah, more help on the offensive line. Again, the team’s track record has been brutal in this area. It’s better to take a lot of shots at the dartboard, right? Luke Goedeke is a former tight end with a huge advantage if he handles it properly and it could be at tackle or guard. The team needs this kind of long-term investment as it looks to the future beyond the current veteran starters.

252. Neil Farrell Jr., IDL, LSU

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

More line depth, this time with Farrell, who is pretty good value right now after he had poor tests at the combine.

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