For the first time in years, it seemed like drafting a punter was a real possibility for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Long-time punter Kevin Huber remains unsigned by anyone, and the only player the Bengals have to replace him is Drue Chrisman, a second-year punter who went undrafted last year.
As fate had it, this year saw four punters get drafted. That’s only happened in three other years in the last 30 NFL Drafts. None of the four ended up in Cincinnati, but that almost wasn’t the case according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.
When discussing the surprising mini-run on punters late in the fourth round, King mentioned that the Bengals were interested in drafting one with the 137th pick.
"The punter became a really interesting pick. At 133, Tampa took the Georgia punter. I found out later that Cincy at 137 was interested in taking a punter. One GM said he was going to try to trade for Ravens pick at 139 to take Stout." @peter_king on Ravens taking punter at 130— Glenn Clark (@GlennClarkRadio) May 2, 2022
The Baltimore Ravens became the first team to take a punter with the 130th pick as they selected Jordan Stout from Penn State. Three picks later, Jake Camarda from Georgia was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at pick 133.
If King’s intel is accurate, that means the Bengals were interested in one of Stout or Camarda, and chose to go in a different direction when both went off the board. North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson became the Bengals’ pick at 137th overall.
The fifth round has usually been when Cincinnati invests draft capital in specialists, as Evan McPherson, Jake Elliott, and even Huber were fifth-round selections. A late fourth-round pick is pretty close to a fifth-rounder, so it’s very conceivable to think they’d take Huber’s replacement at that juncture.
What might be surprising to most Bengals fans is the fact that San Diego State’s Matt Araiza supposedly wasn’t in the conversation. The player crowned as “Punt God” waited two more rounds to hear his name called by the Buffalo Bills. If the Bengals truly wanted a punter and passed on Araiza two more times, he must not have been high in their board.
As of now, Chrisman is unopposed in his battle to be Huber’s replacement, but Huber can still come back on a one-year deal as well.