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Two big areas stick out as needs for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2022 NFL draft — offensive line and cornerback.
That’s something that could change in the coming weeks during the regular season, not to mention offseason. But recent mock drafts have heavily leaned into the idea while the Bengals project to pick in the middle of the pack.
Over with Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling, the Bengals pick 17th and nail down Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross:
“Joe Burrow has plenty of weapons, but he won’t be able to maximize them if the Bengals don’t improve the offensive line with a pro-ready blocker like Cross, who has been tested against top competition.”
It’s a really interesting idea, as Cross sure looks like a guy who could carve out a nice career for himself at right tackle.
That said, Cincinnati’s insistence on starting Hakeem Adeniji over Jackson Carman right after he got back from injury suggests they view him as a potential long-term starter. They feel the same for Carman, which means one of them could take over for Riley Reiff at right tackle over the next few years.
Still, Adeniji’s performance over the rest of this season, as well as Carman’s if he gets on the field, will dictate whether the team focuses on the line early in the draft. It might also have to think about centers given Trey Hopkins’ struggles.
Other recent mock drafts have the Bengals going cornerback with a certain Cincinnati Bearcats star.