Bengals ‘not ruling out’ Tyler Linderbaum in 2022 NFL draft’s first round

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For those curious, it sure doesn’t sound like the Cincinnati Bengals will rule out taking Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round of next Thursday’s 2022 NFL draft.

Linderbaum has been linked to the Bengals often in mocks. But that hasn’t stopped the idea from popping up that his lack of versatility could mean the Bengals would take a pass if he falls.

But Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com noted that Linderbaum’s one-position resume won’t stop them from pulling the proverbial trigger:

“They’re also big on the versatility of backup guard-center Trey Hill. They’re not ruling out Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum at No. 31 because he’s only played center, but if a lineman is drafted in the later rounds such as Smith, Adeniji and Hill, Callahan says it’s virtually a must to be versatile.”

As we’ve written nearly endlessly at this point, the team drafting Linderbaum would simply mean sliding veteran Ted Karras over to left guard — he’s graded very well there in recent years.

Linderbaum, by the way, is by far the best center in the draft and worthy of a Round 1 pick, even if the NFL’s positional value often sends centers into a freefall.

The Bengals would be even better if Linderbaum did fall into their laps at No. 31. And as expected, the commentary confirms that pretty much only prospects with positional versatility will be considered after the opening round.

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