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Bengals liked Kaiir Elam in Round 1, medicals kept them from Andrew Booth Jr.

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Of two popular mock draft picks for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2022 NFL draft, the team liked one if he fell and wanted to shy away from the other the whole time.

So says a new writeup from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, which says the Bengals would have loved to luck into Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam, but that the medicals on Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. kept them away:

“Cincinnati was pretty set on defensive back in Round 1 and would have strongly considered cornerback Kaiir Elam had he dropped to No. 31. But the Bengals largely didn’t expect that. Some in Cincinnati’s building also really liked Andrew Booth Jr., but his medical profile was an issue — and it likely played a big part in his fall to the second round.”

Note that this doesn’t say the Bengals would have taken Elam over Dax Hill, but the interest was there. Elam ended up being the fourth corner off the board at No. 23 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Booth fell into the second round with the Minnesota Vikings at No. 42.

The Bengals held strong at No. 31, picking Dax Hill out of Michigan and earning rave reviews in the process, including Mel Kiper calling it the steal of the draft.

And while it’s clear the Bengals really had sights set on a boundary cornerback, coaches think Hill can play there if necessary and they went back to that spot in the second round with Cam Taylor-Britt.

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