Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season at all times. Those managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class as a whole will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2022 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.
The draft order used in this article reflects the actual draft order. Credit to the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are also generated from this site.
2021 Season Recap
The Bengals made it to the top of the mountain but ultimately fell just a bit short in a surprising season. The team finished 10-7, winning the AFC North, and then blitzkrieged through the playoffs. Winning at home against the Raiders was an expected outcome, but nobody expected them to defeat Tennessee and Kansas City on the road.
The team has a few tough choices to make, but most of the team is under contract, and the Bengals had nearly $50 million in cap space. Attacking the offensive line has to be the team’s focus, as franchise QB Joe Burrow hit the grass far too often in 2021. The first signings in free agency were Alex Cappa, lured away from Tampa Bay, and center Ted Karras from New England. Strengthening the secondary, even though Jessie Bates was franchise tagged, also should be a focus. Here is what I would do as the GM of your AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals!
1.31 – Kenyon Green, IOL Texas A&M
One could go with several offensive linemen, and the Bengals would be happy and much better as a team. The former Aggie, Green, is a versatile lineman with quick feet and explosive out of his stance. He adjusts well to moves and anchors as well as anyone in the class. Green will likely be best inside, at guard, and will need to work on his consistency. His run-blocking is phenomenal, but Green has allowed pressures too often in pass blocking.
2.63 – Trey McBride, TE Colorado State
The loss of C.J. Uzomah stung slightly, and the Bengals address it with the top TE in the 2022 class. McBride is a phenomenal receiving TE – he has enough speed to get deep in the second level and can’t be covered by many linebackers. He plays smart and has soft hands, tracks the ball well, and adjusts to it in the air also. McBride shows effort in blocking and isn’t a liability in the area, but it’s not his strength. He will add another element to an already dangerous offense and give the Bengals the TE they have been missing for years.
3.95 – Channing Tindall, LB Georgia
Since his performance combine, I doubt Tindall makes it almost to pick 100, but if he is here – the Bengals will pounce. Tindall measured at 6’1” and 230 pounds but had an elite vertical jump at 42” and an elite broad jump of 10’9”. And also ran a 4.47 40-yard dash. He never started fully at Georgia, but he showcased an ability to tackle and was excellent in coverage when he did. Tindall’s athleticism allows him to hang with RBs and TEs, and he is also strong in pass-rushing. He has moves and can cover a lot of ground quickly. Tindall could be a huge steal and may take some time to fully develop after less than 600 snaps in college.
4.136 – Coby Bryant, CB Cincinnati
Bryant played opposite of first-round CB Sauce Gardner and was often targeted in college. He responded by showcasing how impressive he can be. Bryant has a good feel in coverage and has elite footwork. He isn’t the fastest corner, running a 4.54 40-yard at the Combine, but he can still mirror most receivers with good technique. Bryant is fearless in run defense and loves to come up to hit someone. His change of direction and ability to get off blocks is inconsistent, and he isn’t an elite athlete. For a fourth-round CB, though, Bryant could end up being a solid starter and likely is already an upgrade over Eli Apple.
5.174 – Kellen Diesch, OT Arizona State
A tad “small” for a tackle at 6’7” and 300 pounds, Diesch could be a solid rotational lineman in the NFL and a tremendous fifth-round choice. He has solid footwork, balance, and his technique is refined. Diesch could add some weight and has good enough strength with the potential to grow to be successful and possibly be a good starter. He is stronger in pass protection than run blocking, which could get him on the field earlier.
6.209 – Amare Barno, EDGE Virginia Tech
If Barno makes it to the sixth, the Bengals would be wise to snap him up. He’s going to be stronger as a stand-up edge-rushing LB. He ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the Combine, and that speed shows up in his gameplay. Barno has nasty acceleration and explodes low, timing the snap well, and follows the ball well. He’s not as strong in run defense and could be a situational pass rusher. A good gamble in this spot; Barno could add some weight to couple with the speed to be a strong edge rusher.
7.226 – D’Vonte Price, RB Florida International
I could see a team gambling on Price much earlier than the seventh round, but he made it to me in this exercise – so I am drafting him. The Bengals could use some depth at RB, and Price showcased his athletic ability at the Combine by running a 4.38 40-yard at 6’2” and 198 pounds. Price can run between the tackles and is dangerous in the open field, a small-school back with good patience and footwork. He can also catch passes and can blast through tacklers. He runs a bit upright and is a liability in pass protection, but Price could end up being one of the best backup backs in the league.
7.252 – Verone McKinley III, S Oregon
McKinley will give the Bengals some depth at safety, and he’s a physical hitter. He has instincts and anticipates plays developing. McKinley loves to get after the ball and is dangerous if he forces a turnover. He needs to work on pursuit angles and avoid being engaged, but he should be a solid asset in the Bengals secondary and on special teams.
Post-Draft Fantasy Impact
The picks here help the team more as an NFL asset than a fantasy asset, except for McBride. It will be tough for McBride to garner targets, but even if he can find 60-70 targets, he could be a low-end top 12 TE. Tindall could be a solid LB4 in fantasy at some point but will likely still be better in the NFL than fantasy.
The Bengals have already addressed the offensive line in free agency and added a bit more here in the draft. Keeping Burrow clean is the top priority, and these should all help. The defense gets a little more support and can continue to grow as a solid unit. I would have loved to grab a CB earlier but wasn’t liking what I saw on the board as opposed to what I ultimately took.
The team will likely take a similar approach in their draft and attack these areas of need. The draft’s strengths align well with what the Bengals need.
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