The Cincinnati Bengals focused on the defensive secondary over the first two rounds of last year’s NFL draft, partially due to the uncertainty that safety Jessie Bates signs a long-term extension.
But a new mock draft has them addressing the same unit again while eyeing that future without Bates.
Luke Easterling of Draft Wire has the Bengals picking 18th, where they make Clemson defender Trenton Simpson the pick:
“Even if the Bengals end up keeping Jessie Bates III, this defense could use another versatile, athletic playmaker who can line up all over the field. Simpson can play in the box, in the slot, and just about anywhere else, and wreak havoc on opposing offenses.”
Simpson, 6’3″ and 230 pounds, might just be the best player available on the board by that point in the draft despite obvious needs at corner and offensive tackle.
If nothing else, Simpson would be an incredible chess piece for coordinator Lou Anarumo:
One player I’m excited to watch tonight? #Clemson LB Trenton Simpson. See a lot of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in him, but he’s even bigger.
Keep an eye on #22 tonight pic.twitter.com/iKHOplFZdZ
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 5, 2022
On paper, a high-upside trio of Simpson, Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt in addition to long-term pieces like Logan Wilson could secure the future no matter what happens with Bates.