Who will be on the Cincinnati Bengals radar on day three of the 2022 NFL Draft?
The Cincinnati Bengals will likely be looking to add a combination of depth in the secondary, defensive tackle, and offensive line positions on days one and two of this week’s 2022 NFL Draft. Where things get really interesting is on day three when rounds four through seven come into play. Team needs throughout those rounds could include tight end, linebacker, wide receiver, punter, and additional depth at the aforementioned positions.
The Bengals also love to rotate pass rushers, so don’t be surprised if they try to find a gem in the late rounds, even with last year’s promising rookies (third-rounder Joseph Ossai and seventh-rounder Wyatt Hubert) returning from injury. With all that said, here are some intriguing day-three prospects at each of those positions who very well may end up in stripes this weekend.
Matt Araiza (P, San Diego State): The Cincinnati Bengals are not afraid to use draft picks on special teams standouts. The success of Evan McPherson last season may influence them to spend an early day-three pick on another strong leg. The ability to flip the field often goes overlooked, and Kevin Huber has not been able to do so consistently the past couple of seasons. Huber is also currently unsigned.
Charleston Rambo (WR, Miami): Cincinnati boasts arguable the top receiving trio in the NFL with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. However, things get a little thin behind them. The team re-signed Mike Thomas and Trent Taylor, but neither of them are the answer as a fourth option. Auden Tate has filled that role recently, but the Bengals elected not to re-sign him. Rambo is not going to wow anyone with blazing speed, but his possession-receiving skills could come in handy on Sundays.
Zyon McCollum (CB, Sam Houston State): This speedster may have sprinted his way into day-two territory of the draft. However, if he does slide to day three, expect the Bengals to pounce, even if it means doubling down at the position. Eli Apple was okay last year, but gave up enough big plays to make Cincinnati fans sweat when the club declared him a 2022 starter. The Cincinnati Bengals believe in their coaching staff, and, if given the opportunity, would love the chance to have Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach Charles Burks unlock McCollum’s potential.
Kolby Harvell-Peel (S, Oklahoma State): Harvell-Peel is one of my favorite safeties in this year’s class. He plays downhill and is an absolute thumper. Cincinnati is thin behind their dynamic duo of Jesse Bates III and Vonn Bell, both of whom will be up for new contracts sooner than later. Harvell-Peel is a poor man’s Bell and could develop into a quality starter after sitting behind the Bengals’ dynamic duo for a season or more.
D’Marco Jackson (LB, Appalachian State): Cincinnati has done an excellent job assembling a young, athletic, linebacking corps. Two members, Logan Wilson (Wyoming) and Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State) were plucked from schools not necessarily known for producing a ton of pro talent. It is that success that may encourage the Bengals to go to the well one more time at the position with Jackson. Jackson does not jump off the page athletically, but his play speed and production are just what Cincinnati may covet while trying to replace Jordan Evans on defense and, especially, on special teams.
Cade Hall (DE, San Jose State): As I mentioned earlier, the Bengals are not in desperate need of additional pass-rushers. Their current stable of Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Khalid Kareem, Joseph Ossai, and Wyatt Hubert is enviable. However, Hall is just the type of end the Bengals love – all motor, all the time. He could easily end up as a flyer with one of the team’s two seventh-round picks.
Eyioma Uwazurike (DT, Iowa State): Uwazurike could come in and immediately help with what was, at times, a leaky run defense in Cincinnati. He also possesses the size and athleticism necessary to provide pass rush up the middle. That versatility could make him a day-three steal as the Bengals aim to replace Larry Ogunjobi next to DJ Reader.
In the past, Cincinnati has taken a best-available approach to their draft strategy. However, these are not your father’s Cincinnati Bengals. With no glaring weaknesses, the team can use its eight picks to address depth and build for continued success in the future.