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The Cincinnati Bengals can’t really surprise their fans in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
The Bengals aren’t in dire need of any one specific need, nor can a roster that is already Super Bowl-worthy make any major gaffes. There are needs, of course, but the team can comfortably go best-player available and just get a great prospect while dialing in on needs more in the later rounds.
When thinking about what the Bengals might do, all levels of the defense make a ton of sense and so do offensive linemen.
Maybe the biggest shocker of all would be the Bengals deciding to go with a tight end after losing C.J. Uzomah in free agency. That hasn’t really been on the radar of fans so far — the team signed Hayden Hurst, who could end up statistically better than Uzomah and frankly, the position sits behind the three wideouts in the pecking order. Oh, and this tight end class itself is underwhelming, at least in the opening round.
So what if they take Colorado State tight end Trey McBride in the first round?
Or what if it’s Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert? He’s generally viewed as a second or third-round pick, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano just reported he’s likely to go much higher than most expected.
That’s the sort of pick that would stun fans and have them questioning how the team would be able to fill the other needs the rest of the way. The pick could end up being amazing in hindsight (and both guys are really good prospects, just not necessarily in the first round), yet would be panned nationally and likely within the fanbase.
Likely? Maybe not. But wilder things have happened on draft day, right?