Instant analysis of Bengals picking Jeffrey Gunter in the seventh round

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The Cincinnati Bengals went back to addressing the pass-rush to cap off their trip to the 2022 NFL draft by picking Coastal Carolina EDGE Jeffrey Gunter in the seventh round.

Gunter, like the rest of the draft class, checked all the expected Bengals boxes.

Coming in at 6’4″ and 258 pounds, Gunter was an eye-popper of a tester who ran a 4.7 40-yard dash, to name one of the impressive numbers.

Also notable was the stat sheet, where in 2020 he led college football with six forced fumbles in 12 starts, plus 5.5 sacks. He followed that up with 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over 12 games last season.

The Bengals sure won’t mind that Gunter played his first two seasons listed as an end before standing up as a linebacker. He fits the mold of another chess piece Lou Anarumo can move around in his amoeba front.

As NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein summarized while tabbing Gunter as a fifth or sixth-round pick, it’s all about the trait-based upside:

“Athletic edge defender who is much more talented as a rusher than run defender. Gunter lacks the functional anchor and scrappiness to battle through contact and come out on the other side. He has the athletic ability and motor to harass the pocket, but needs to get stronger to open more rush doors in the future. Gunter has Day 3 potential as a backup 3-4 rush linebacker in a blitzing and gaming-based front.”

Maybe Gunter doesn’t see the field as a rookie, but he’s got a ton of interesting traits coaches will look to develop. If he can get in games and harass and confuse quarterbacks, it’s a superb value this late.

Not content to see if Gunter would actually choose the Bengals if he slipped to undrafted free agency, the Bengals locked him down and there’s groundwork here for him to eventually classify as a seventh-round steal.

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