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APC Community Mock Draft 2022: The Bengals are on the clock at no. 31

The Bengals are set to pick after the Chiefs selected David Ojabo at no. 30.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Kansas City Chiefs selected David Ojabo with the 30th pick of our Community Mock Draft. The talented edge rusher was a lock to go higher but tore his achilles during Michigan’s pro day. If he can return to form, the Chiefs got a steal here that can be a cornerstone of their defense.

The Bengals are coming into 2022 riding high. Despite a disappointing Super Bowl loss, the team is ahead of schedule after a storybook postseason run. Cincinnati has their guy at QB, and with Joe Burrow at the helm, they’re in solid shape for quite a while. Burrow was forced to work miracles with a patchwork offensive line that gave up 70 sacks last season and it was the number one priority for the front office this spring.

As soon as the legal tampering period had begun, Cincy struck a deal with Alex Cappa and followed it up by signing Ted Karras just days later. Both deals carry little risk and should strengthen the interior. Later in free agency, the Bengals signed La’el Collins who, despite missing many games with a myriad of issues the past few seasons, will still be the Bengals’ best tackle in years. A hole remains at left guard, where Karras is more than comfortable. Such a move would free up the Bengals to take Tyler Linderbaum here. Linderbaum will only fall this far because of the lack of need for centers across the league, and the Bengals would be getting a blue-chip prospect.

Defensive tackle B.J. Hill was retained on a 3-year, $30 million deal, a move that became crucial with the departure of Larry Ogunjobi. It would not be surprising to see the Bengals spend a high pick on their interior defensive line to further alleviate pressure on edge rushers Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. Much maligned cornerback Eli Apple is also back in Cincinnati on a 1-year deal. Despite the constant stream of jokes from the internet, Apple was fine in 2021. The Bengals’ secondary is still a spot with very little depth, however, and spending a day 1 pick on a corner or a safety would be good insurance should injury or regression hit Apple. Kaiir Elam can provide that insurance and competition for Apple from day 1 of camp.


Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

Linderbaum has been a mainstay on Iowa’s offensive line since he made the switch from defensive tackle in his rookie year. He has been named a first-team All-American twice and won the Rimington trophy for the best center in college football in 2021. Linderbaum is undersized but makes up for it with an advanced understanding of the game. His quickness and explosiveness allow him to get leverage in any situation. He is an extremely quick player and watching him reach the second level is a thing of beauty. A mauler he is not, but Linderbaum will shine in a zone-heavy scheme from day 1.

Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut

After not playing in 2020 due to Connecticut’s canceled season, Travis Jones had his best year of football in 2021. He recorded 7.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks on a struggling Connecticut team where he was the sole focus of blockers. He has a solid anchor and a powerful upper body that should help him control the line of scrimmage. His get-off lacks some juice but he is capable of using strength to shed blocks and make a tackle in the gap. With better hand usage and fewer blockers funneled his way, it’s possible he sees more success as a pass rusher. Early in his career, Jones will give opposing centers trouble and be a more than capable run defender.

Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Elam has shown pro potential since the moment he stepped foot in Gainesville. His pro pedigree is evident, as his uncle is former NFL safety Matt Elam and his father played in the league for seven years. Elam’s 2020 was outstanding. He received first-team All-SEC honors on the back of 11 pass breakups and two interceptions. He didn’t live up to that standard in 2021 and missed three games, causing the dip on boards.

Elam is a big-bodied corner with the length and strength necessary to press NFL receivers. He displays excellent agility and is fluid in the hips. He won’t bite on double moves often, but when he does, his recovery speed allows him to never be out of a play. Elam has been poor in run support, lacking aggressiveness and playing small. He is more than capable of mucking things up at the catch point. Despite needing to clean up issues in run support, Elam projects as a CB2 with natural cover skills.


Poll

Who will the Bengals select at 31?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
    (58 votes)
  • 9%
    Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
    (9 votes)
  • 27%
    Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
    (26 votes)
93 votes total Vote Now

The Bengals will look to draft an immediate starter with this pick as they try to make another Super Bowl run in a loaded AFC. Linderbaum would continue the front office’s trend of getting help up front for Joe Burrow this offseason. On the other side of the ball. Travis Jones and Kaiir Elam can come in and push for impactful snaps on day 1. Be sure to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco) and check back later for the Lions’ pick at 32, our final pick of the Community Mock!