The Cincinnati Bengals have two clear needs, either of which should be focused on with the No. 31 pick. The Bengals also are projected to have the fourth-most cap space, so there will be several options for this team to fill their holes.
The biggest hole, which everyone who remotely follows the team should be aware of, is on the offensive line. Joe Burrow took 16 sacks against the Titans and Rams combined. That’s a problem, one that will likely restrict the Bengals from another deep playoff run.
The other hole that needs filled is their No. 2 cornerback. There is potential for players to be available at No. 31 to fill that need, but it’s certainly more likely Cincinnati opts for an offensive lineman.
That’s where Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum comes into the discussion. Per Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar, Linderbaum could be the perfect addition for Cincinnati, having the Bengals taking Linderbaum in the first round of his most recent mock draft.
“There would be few better places to start than at the center position, and no better center than Linderbaum, the athletic freak who puts some in the mind of Jason Kelce. While Linderbaum won’t win a ton of strength battles at the line of scrimmage, he’s perfectly capable of getting a one-tech defensive tackle on the track and pushing him out of the picture....... and he gave up just one sack and nine total pressures on 464 pass-blocking snaps last season,” Farrar wrote.
Linderbaum stands 6-foot-3 and comes in at 290 pounds, so he won’t necessarily be one of the bigger lineman in the draft. Linderbaum was on the Preseason first-team All-America by Phil Steele and also preseason first-team All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele, Iowa’s website profile notes.
“Tyler Linderbaum had 122 positively-graded run blocks in 2021...30 more than the next P5 offensive lineman,” Pro Football Focus tweeted.
The Bengals could use a center, especially if Hopkins, who started all but 3 games for Cincinnati over the past two seasons is cut. Linderbaum clearly looks like a capable center for the Bengals, hopefully one that would be a staple of the line for a decade to come.